Suckering tomatoes

Tomato    Zone 7B

I usually grow determinate varieties in containers but I thought I’d try my hand at a few indeterminates this year, any tips on suckering for a first time grower?

Posted by: cara smith (1 point) cara smith
Posted: March 8, 2013


Suckering as in removing the additional growing tips to aid in tomato production? or as in rooting the removed suckers to start as new plants?

If your considering removing suckers to aid in production I recommend against it. But I live in a very dry very sunny high desert so the plants need all the sun protection they can muster. I also have no fear of moisture hanging around in that dense tangle causing disease. If your dealing with limited sun exposure and lots of humidity/disease problems maybe pinching the suckers will help you get more air circulation and prevent disease.

Also are you saying you want to give indeterminates a go in containers? if that is the case maybe pinching out all the suckers and planning on tieing it up would work well for you purely to keep the root mass down. Here is a more scientific link on tomato rooting habits in relation to pruning.

The aforementioned information pasted here
*Lateral branches being suckers.
Pruning.--Pruning the vines, i.e., pinching out all or nearly all of the lateral branches as soon as they appear and thus confining the growth to one or a few stems and training these remaining stems is a practice used by some growers especially in the South. 145 It has been suggested that any benefit thus derived may be due to a lessening of foliage diseases, which are more severe in the South, since trained plants are thus benefitted by better exposure to wind and sun. 157 In the North it has been largely discontinued since it has been found unprofitable. In general the yield decreases in proportion to the severity of pruning. 176, 120 For example, at Urbana, Ill., plants pruned to a single stem gave a yield of 6.5 pounds of marketable fruit; those pruned to 2 stems yielded 10.5 pounds; those with three stems 12.1 pounds; but plants not pruned gave a yield of 19.6 pounds. 95 Indeed, hundreds of pruning experiments have been done without reference to the effect upon the root system. There is a close correlation between root and shoot development and the maintenance of a proper balance between them is of very great importance. If either is too limited or too great in extent, the other will not thrive. Unpublished studies at Cornell University show that the root system of a pruned tomato plant is reduced in about the same proportion as the top. "Hence it seems probable that pruned plants suffer more from drought than unpruned plants because the former cannot get as much of the available moisture as the latter." 157 This is further indicated by the fact that blossom-end rot is nearly always more severe on trained and pruned than on unpruned plants.

So if your looking to keep the root mass more manageable in a container maybe do try pinching out the suckers.

Good luck and take pictures~!

Posted by: Wurgulf (45 points) Wurgulf
Posted: March 28, 2013

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