Tomato Plant Suckers: What Are They and Should You Get Rid of Them

When it comes to getting rid of tomato suckers, there is no right or wrong answer. It is up to the gardener to decide what to do with them.

Some people believe that tomato suckers should be removed in order to improve the yield and quality of the fruit. Others believe that they should be left alone.

Tomato Suckers – What Are They?

As their name suggests, tomato suckers are little shoots that grow in the forks of the main stems of your tomato plant.

Often, these will be found on the stems that meet the main trunk of the plant.

Tomato suckers are essentially new growth and are the plant’s way of trying to produce more fruit.

In the wild, tomato plants would produce fruit all along their stems. However, the long stems would make the tomatoes more susceptible to damage and rot.

So, over time, the plants have adapted to produce fruit only at the tops of the stems, with new growth (or suckers) appearing in the forks of the main stems near the base of the plant.

How to Identify Tomato Suckers

Tomato suckers are relatively easy to identify once you know what you’re looking for. Here are a few tips to help you spot them:

Look for small, finger-like growths on the stem of the plant. These are usually located near the leaf axils (where the leaves meet the stem).

Tomato suckers are typically lighter in color than the rest of the plant.

You may also notice that the leaves on suckers are smaller and more pointy than the rest of the plant.

Should You Remove Tomato Suckers?

One of the most common questions asked about tomato plants is whether or not to remove tomato suckers. Tomato suckers are the small shoots that grow in the joint between the main stem and a branch on the tomato plant.

While some tomato growers swear by removing all of the suckers, others believe that it’s not necessary. So, what’s the right answer?

As with most things in gardening, it depends. If you’re growing determinate tomatoes (also called bush tomatoes), you probably don’t need to remove the suckers. Determinate tomatoes are bred to produce fruit on a limited number of branches, so removing the suckers won’t really increase your yield.

On the other hand, if you’re growing indeterminate tomatoes (also called vining tomatoes), you may want to remove the suckers. Indeterminate tomatoes can grow quite large and produce fruit on an indefinite number of branches.

Removing the suckers will help to keep the plant more compact and manageable.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Some gardeners find that their determinate tomatoes produce more fruit if they remove the suckers. And some gardeners prefer the look of a plant with fewer branches and leaves.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether or not to remove the suckers from your tomato plants. If you’re not sure what will work best in your garden, let us tell you about the benefits of removing remove suckers from your plants

Read more: How to Prune Tomato Plants for Optimal Growth

The Benefits of Removing Suckers from Your Tomato Plant 

Removing suckers is a process called “suckering” and is beneficial for the plant as it:

The main reason people choose to remove their tomato suckers is to improve the taste of the fruit.

When a tomato sucker grows, it takes energy away from the fruit that is already growing. This means that the fruit will be smaller and less sweet than it would otherwise be.

So, if you want to produce the biggest, sweetest tomatoes possible, then you should definitely remove the suckers.

Another reason to remove tomato suckers is to improve the yield of your plant.

While an indeterminate tomato plant will keep producing fruit all season long, it is only going to produce a certain amount of fruit.

The more suckers you have, the more the plant will have to spread its energy around, and the less fruit you will get.

So, if you want to maximize your yield, then removing the suckers is the way to go.

The final reason to remove tomato suckers is to improve the overall health of your plant.

As the plant grows, it will become increasingly top-heavy. If you have too many suckers, then the plant may collapse under its own weight.

So, by removing the suckers, you can help to keep your plant healthy and prevent it from toppling over.

1. Reduces the number of leaves on the plant, allowing more sunlight to reach the fruit.
2. Increases air circulation, which helps to prevent fungal diseases.
3. Reduces the overall weight of the plant, making it less likely to break branches.
4. Makes the plant more aesthetically pleasing.
5. Increases the yield of fruit per plant.

How To Remove Tomato Suckers

Luckily, removing suckers is easy to do, and only takes a few minutes. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove tomato suckers:

Step 1: Identify the suckers The first step is to identify the suckers on your tomato plant. Suckers are small shoots that grow in the axils (where the leaf meets the stem) of a tomato plant. They are typically green, and if left unchecked, can quickly overtake the plant.

Step 2: Cut the suckers Once you have identified the suckers, use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut them off at the base. Be sure to make a clean cut so that the plant can heal quickly. (wait until the sucker is about 4 inches long. If you try to remove it before it’s reached this size, it will simply grow back.)

Step 3: Dispose of the suckers After you have cut the suckers off the plant, it is important to dispose of them properly. Suckers can take root if they are left on the ground, so be sure to put them in the trash or compost bin.

That’s all there is to it! Removing suckers is a simple but important task when it comes to growing healthy, productive tomato plants.

Propagate Tomatoes From Suckers

Tomatoes can be propagated from suckers by removing the suckers from the plant and planting them in potting mix. The potting mix should be moistened before planting.

The suckers should be planted about an inch deep. Once the suckers have been planted, they should be kept moist and warm until they sprout. Once the suckers have sprouted, they can be transplanted into the garden or into larger pots.

Tomato plants should be spaced about two feet apart when planted in the garden. When transplanting into larger pots, the pots should be at least 12 inches deep.

Tomatoes can also be propagated from cuttings. Cuttings can be taken from the main stem of the plant or from lateral branches. When taking cuttings from the main stem, the cutting should be made just below a leaf node. Cuttings from lateral branches should be made just above a leaf node.

Cutting should be taken from healthy, disease-free plants. The cuttings should be about four inches long. The bottom two inches of the cutting should be buried in the potting mix. The cutting should be kept moist and warm until it sprouts.

Once the cutting has sprouted, it can be transplanted into the garden or into a larger pot. Tomato plants should be spaced about two feet apart when planted in the garden.

When transplanting into larger pots, the pots should be at least 12 inches deep.

Once the plant has established itself, you can transplant it outside.

Read more: How to Transplant Tomato Seedlings: Tips for a Successful Start

Read more: Tomato Plant Spacing: How to Space Your Tomato Plants for Optimal Growth