Should I prune there tomatoes?


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Hey new here and first time actually growing tomatoes. I have 4 tomato plants growing stakes. I have removed some of the suckers from the bottom of the plant but its still growing out of control like a jungle. Should I remove any non suckers too? Some of the stems dangle down, some other point up some left, right, etc Its growing on a raised garden bed.

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Edit: Oops i started this thread under vegetables but tomato is a fruit :(
 
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One should prune suckers on tomatoes ONLY if you have limited sunlight such as in England. Suckers are what produce the fruit so cutting them off is counter productive and in areas like Texas where the sunlight is intense suckers are needed for their foliage to prevent sunscald. On the other hand removing some of the limbs, not the suckers, from the BOTTOM of the plant is a good thing, mainly to keep soil and harmful bacteria from splashing up onto the leaves during a heavy rain. I always prune mine up about 12-16 inches from soil level as a preventative against Early Blight. It doesn't completely stop it but it does slow it down enough for a complete harvest.
 
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You must live some place with mild winter weather to grow tomatoes in DEC. Phoenix AZ daylight is only 8 hours every day and sun is low in the sky 34° angel. Sunlight is 50% as bright as summer. Be very stingy with nitrogen or you get big plants with not many tomatoes 5-20-20 fertilizer is good. P makes roots grow. K makes lots of blossoms that become lots of big tomatoes. Stake plants to 7 ft tall. The more leaves and limbs you cut off the more energy plants have to make tomatoes. The variety you grow will determine how many blossoms plants have and how large tomatoes grow. You can't make a small tomato become a 1 lb tomato. Pick a tomato flavor you like & size you like. Do not cut the top of the plant off it will stop growing and stop producing from a month. Notice plants will have blossoms several places along the main stem after tomatoes are harvested at each location leaves with become no longer required so they will turn brown and die, cut off all dead leaves & limbs. Plants only have healthy leaves & limbs where new tomatoes grow. Some people call it blight but unneeded leaves are allowed to die and blight takes over on those leaves. It is best to plant new tomato seeds every month all summer to have healthy plants all summer. I like Big Beef tomatoes because we love the flavor these are about 12 to 14 oz tomatoes I often get 35 lbs of tomatoes from every plant. Plant garden Nov 1st in Phoenix AZ.
 
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The OP lives in Australia in the southern hemisphere where it is now late Spring. Yuletide will be their Summer Solstice.

As for the original question. Yes, I agree. No need to prune stems (not really 'suckers') unless there is a space limitation.
However, do stake up the multiple stems. feel free to use as many stakes as necessary.
 
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I have a problem with too much sun later in the season and the early leaf spots start in the spring as temps warm. Generically I take some from the bottom just to reduce surface area upon which the blights might take purchase. Its a race to the top, and spraying is a big thing for me to slow down any attack so the plant can have time to do its thing. The plant is more vigorous when it has more leaves and since the pathogens can consume the plant before it makes a full production, I try to leave leaves.
 
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Our summer weather is hot & dry as desert my tomato plants need all their leaves for shade to prevent tomato sun burn. I like to plant tomatoes on the east side of a big shade tree or east side of a building for shade. I want my tomato plants to have cool early morning full sun until 11 am then full shade the rest of the day until dark. Tomatoes do excellent with 5 hours of full sun & 10 hours of full shade. Our last frost is April 20 that is when I plant tomatoes. We have rain almost every day Jan to April. We have a very short spring only 6 weeks long. We start having 90°F weather June 1st and 100°F weather July 1st. Rain stops June to Oct we only get about 1 small rain per month garden soil is dry as desert. If I dry farm an never water any plants some do better than others but if I water plants I can plant a much smaller garden to get the same harvest. We use to can 100 quarts of tomatoes every year in mason jars but children have left home we no longer need more than 8 quarts of tomatoes now. I usually get about 35 to 40 lbs of tomatoes from every tomato plant. In the past I would planted 16 tomato plants so we could get 400 lbs of tomatoes in 2 weeks then be finished with canning tomatoes in jars for the summer. Now we only need 4 tomato plants but I often plant 8 or 12 so I can give tomatoes to family & friends. Cherry tomato seeds I have saved for 35 years do excellent in hot blistering 100° sun while other tomatoes are often dead in this heat. I have lived in, Michigan, Illinois, Phoenix AZ, now Tennessee, it is a learning experience to learn how to grow a garden in each climate & each soil, plants still have the same requirements the trick is to figure out how to give plants what they need in each geographically location. 5-20-20 fertilizer is perfect for tomatoes, too much nitrogen you get big plants and small harvest. No need to prune tomato plants where I live now they need their own shade in this hot weather but shade tree gives my plants full shade for 10 hours ever day. Every time I harvest tomatoes at a certain location on the plants the plants no longer need the leaves at that location so I cut them off. When tomato plants start to get too large I prune leaves other wises tomato harvest gets smaller in 100° hot weather, plants loose too much moisture to make big tomatoes and leaves too. I don't plant much variety anymore but variety is a good idea if you have a problem with weather conditions or bugs are a problem for some varieties & not other varieties. It also makes a difference if I plant east/west rows or north/south rows. North/south rows are easy to get the entire row in full shade at 11 am every day. Our solar 12 noon is 12:55 pm by our clock daylight saving time in summer. Our sun comes up at 5:30 am by our clock in summer & trees block the sun for 2 hours. Our first harvest is about July 4th it takes a few days for tomato row to come up to full speed then I can harvest 5 gallons of tomatoes every day for 3 weeks. The row in this photo had 23 plants. Big Beef are good, Beef Master are not good 4 plants in this row made only bad tomatoes so I pulled those plants up after 4 weeks of bad tomatoes.

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Visited Guernsey almost 50 years ago, where they grow lots of commercial hothouse tomatoes. Very interesting. This is what they told me. They grow up a stake, then a wire up and over the (high) roof. They prune off all side shoots, only allowing trusses of fruit directly on the main stem. Trim back tips of leaves that get too big. Once fruit is set, prune leaves below those trusses. Harvest and prune off everything below once fruit have ripened. Late in the season it looks really weird with these big thick bare stems going up and over the ceiling then fruit and leaves on the end them. Supposedly gives more fruit and bigger fruit. Also they water and feed on a very regular schedule, which is very important for tomatoes - especially the watering. Regularity is almost as important as frequency. Uneven watering or feeding schedules make them split. Tried it on a small scale once, growing up stakes. Seemed to work quite well. Looked much like gary350's.
 
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Pruning and growing style mostly depends on the type of tomatoes. I only grow heirloom indeterminate tomatoes using 8 ft stakes. All suckers are removed right away and flowers only come off the main stem. Lower branches are removed to slow down disease travel from soil splashing and if it gets too thick between plants I will prune some branches back to allow for better airflow, again to minimize disease spread.
 
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I have learned not to plant determinate tomatoes, plants make 20 tomatoes in 1 weeks time then plants die. This is a waste of garden space and no more tomatoes for the rest of the summer unless I also have indeterminate plants too. I plant the whole garden on 32" row spacing but tomatoes & peppers really need wider spacing once plants get larger. I solve the row spacing problem by planting potatoes or beans next to tomatoes & peppers 65 days crop is early harvest so those crops are gone early July that leaves 64" row spacing for tomatoes & peppers. I don't plant squash, okra, or cucumbers anymore, we love squash but bugs take over we often only get 3 to 5 squash before squash dies. I like to search the garden for ants and plant squash seeds next to an ant hill, ants find & eat bug eggs before eggs hatch. Cucumbers are a bug magnet they attract 1000s of bugs that spreads to the rest of the garden. It is best not to grow anything that attracts bugs. I have about 30 bird houses and several bird baths, birds do a good job eating all the bugs. TN is very high humidity its not good for squash plants get stem rot & die early.
 
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Hey new here and first time actually growing tomatoes. I have 4 tomato plants growing stakes. I have removed some of the suckers from the bottom of the plant but its still growing out of control like a jungle. Should I remove any non suckers too? Some of the stems dangle down, some other point up some left, right, etc Its growing on a raised garden bed.

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Edit: Oops i started this thread under vegetables but tomato is a fruit :(
I prune as the plant grows, keeping two main stems and removing the others. This usually keepts the plant neat whilst giving it enough coverage to get what it needs.
 
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Also they water and feed on a very regular schedule, which is very important for tomatoes - especially the watering. Regularity is almost as important as frequency
That is so true, very good advice.
Also the comment about type of tomatoes, bush types you can mostly leave to do their thing without any pruning .
 
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I read what I wrote above & I got way off in left field & never answered the question. For me 1 main tomato plant stem is best to tie to a 7 ft tall post. I don't prune the leaves or limbs if plants are in full sun all day other wise tomatoes get sun burn in our 100° hot blistering sun. My laser thermometer shows tomatoes are 130° in full sun. My plants don't do well in full sun its too hot in TN, now I plant tomatoes on the east side of a big shade tree. I want my plants to have 5 hours of early morning sun then full shade 12 noon to dark. With my plants in shade HOT part of the day now I can prune the plants. The more I prune the larger my tomatoes get. It think fewer limbs & leaves plants can put more energy into making more tomatoes & larger tomatoes. If my plants get too large tomatoes get smaller so plants need to be pruned. Low nitrogen fertilizer with high P & K my plants produce lots of blossoms that become tomatoes. Once I see tomatoes growing I prune off extra limbs. I learned not to cut off the top of the main stem plants won't produce any tomatoes at all for a whole month this must stunt the plants growth. My neighbor prunes his plants so there are few leaves & no limbs left it freaks me out his plants will even grow but his tomatoes are all big as grapefruits & his plants look so weird. I look at his plants it looks so unnatural I have a hard time believing he even has tomatoes they look like round red balls on 1 long stem. It worries me to do that to my plants, this year I try harder to learn to do what he does, I will do at least 2 plants identical to his. Here is a drawing of neighbors tomato plants tied to a 2x2 wooden post. Neighbor has a 1" flat cloth belt he wraps around the plant stem as it grows taller. I have only known this neighbor 1 year, last summer is the first time I ever saw tomatoes grown like this.

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Yes, cutting off the highest stem on a plant sends a hormonal signal to prioritize the growth of side branches, often at the expense of flowers and fruit.
 

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