Pull them suckers from the crotch….

If you thought the title had anything to do with anything other than pruning tomatoes then your mind must be in the gutter. 😉 Removing “suckers from the crotch” is a pruning technique for tomato plants that can help grow more fruit and less plant.

First off – What is a “sucker“? A sucker is a growth that occurs in the crotch (area between the stem and branch). Why remove the sucker from the crotch? The theory is that the tomato plant pulls nutrients from the ground to grow and you want more tomato’s rather than suckers. You see, suckers bear no fruit so if you pull them off the nutrients that would have been used to grow them will go to the rest of the plant – including fruit.

sucker-crotch

The first few years of gardening I knew nothing of the “suckers”. One day my neighbor and I were talking about our gardens and he asked me if I have been keeping up with the suckers. I looked at him puzzled and asked what he was talking about. He educated me. Ever since I or my wife will go out and remove the suckers while they are small.

In the years since doing this I have seen tomato plants grow larger and have had better success with the tomatoes in general.

So – do you pull the suckers from the crotch?

Rourke 

 

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8 Comments

  1. I prune my indeterminate tomatoes for reasons you mentioned , but also to control the out put in weight as plant grows. Mine get a bit over six feet tall or more. The deternimates I usually don’t.

  2. No I don’t. For two reasons. 1) You can get fruit from suckers although it is uncommon. 2) I don’t want to open the plant up to disease through the inevitable wound. I don’t can things and only do indeterminate varieties.

  3. If you do “pull suckers from the crotch”, you can root them very quickly in a glass of water and have free tomato plants that are true to the variety you pulled them from. They are a little behind the original plants, but will catch up quickly. If wanting to root them, I recommend that you cut them close to the mother plant, not pull them or pinch them as that damages the stem.

  4. Thank you Karen, your right I had forgotten that, never did it my self, but a neighbor did it did work as you said.

  5. Gravat, if you do have a wound on a plant, a dab of plain ground cinnamon will seal the wound and prevent infections from the outside world. I use it all the time on my orchid plants that are grown in the worst, moist environment for fungus, etc. It is invaluable when plants are repotted or damaged by outside elements, kids, dogs, etc.

  6. Everyone should attend the jungle area of operations school. Seriously, does anyone beat their tomato plants?

    PR

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