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Sprouting tomatoes – from when and why this measure of care is necessary and how to do it correctly.

Of course, for a rich harvest is not enough just to put your tomato plants in the garden. It requires, in addition to watering, other care, and this includes removing the stingy shoots of the tomato. Have you heard about it? As a beginner, you will probably wonder what it is all about, or at least how to do everything right in the process? Do not quite dare to change something on the plant, just follow our guide. We explain when is the right time, how to recognize these side shoots of tomato and in what way you proceed. And why do you need to sprout tomatoes? Or is it just a recommendation after all, and you can just skip it?

What is a stingy shoot?

Stripping tomatoes for a rich harvest with large fruits

Like any other plant, the tomato plants in the course of your growth cycle on your main shoot forms numerous side shoots. This is important, because it is there that leaves and flowers are formed, and later also the fruits. But not all shoots are desirable and necessarily useful. Which shoots should be removed from tomatoes and, above all, why? Namely, the so-called stingy shoots are formed. They are located in the leaf axils, that is, where a leaf shoot grows from the main shoot.

Stripping tomatoes: yes or no?

Some people believe that these shoots unnecessarily take away the plant’s strength, but do not produce any yield, which is not entirely true. Stingy shoots continue to grow just like the main plant, but due to their later development they produce fewer and smaller fruits, but more leaves and shoots. This also allows less light to penetrate the plant.

However, they also feed on the main plant for this purpose, so on the whole this is unnecessary. In addition, this makes the tomato plant more lush and heavier, and these stingy shoots need to be supported from a certain point, so that the entire main plant does not eventually fall over.

Tomato plants care in the summer - thinning against fungal diseases.

So stubbing out tomatoes is quite useful, because this will give the main plant a lot of fruit, which will also become large and more aromatic. This is because all the nutrients that you add to the plant during the vegetative phase are fully available to this same remaining plant mass. In turn, thinning ensures that sufficient sunlight can reach all the important parts of the plant and that they dry quickly after rain due to better aeration. This prevents fungal diseases.

So, in summary, if you don’t thin out your tomatoes, they will get lots of leaves but little fruit and you may just be making unnecessary extra work for yourself by encouraging diseases and pest infestations due to a weakened plant.

Do you really need to thin out all varieties?

Stripping tomatoes and letting only the main shoots grow

No, it really depends on the tomato variety. You should thin out all varieties that are stick grown. If you’re not sure, just look at the label, as that information should be noted there. For example, you can thinning cocktail tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, while for wild tomatoes, as well as balcony , bush and bush tomatoes, thinning can be done, but it is not mandatory and if it is, then only to a small extent.

Pictures of axillary shoots and instructions on how to remove them.

Stripping tomatoes - tips on how to do it right


Are you still not sure which shoots to remove from tomatoes? You can use the photo above to guide you. You will quickly get the hang of it and in no time at all will be able to identify those side shoots of the tomato that are superfluous.

Why you should thinn out tomatoes for proper plant care

Stripping tomatoes – how to do it correctly?

If you keep at it and regularly thin out the plants while the new shoots are still small and thin, you do not need special tools. How can you properly prune tomatoes?

You can easily pinch them off with your fingers. If you do miss it, or if you miss one or two stingy shoots so that they have now grown vigorously, it is best to use hand shears so as not to injure the main shoots. This is especially important if the axillary shoots have already become fibrous. You can first try to carefully bend the shoot back and forth. If it does not break off by itself, use the scissors.

Tomatoes thinning - cut off axillary shoots to encourage fruiting


Stripping tomatoes – from when?

Since tomato plants grow quite quickly, the first axillary shoots also appear relatively early. You can expect the first ones already at the beginning of summer. Then you can expect to repeat this once a week until the end of the season/harvest. If you comply with this, the shoots will also be easier to remove.

Stick tomatoes you should also grow stick-like, for which you need to help a little. Once the first side shoots have appeared, consider which ones you want to leave on the plant as main shoots. This can be a single one or up to three. You can clip all other side shoots along the main tomato shoot. Tie them to supports .

Tomato plants that have been thinned out get more sunlight