Indeterminate tomatoes can grow 12 feet long, I know because we’ve measured them at the end of season. I was curious to measure because of the previous months spent fighting with them about personal space.
Apparently, trimming the suckers will increase the size of your tomatoes but not the overall yield. Basically, you get the same quantity in larger fruits when you trim the suckers. I figured it wasn’t worth the effort to keep the tomatoes trimmed, especially with 50+ plants. In past years, I’ve just let them grow wild and form a tomato jungle where crawling on my knees was the only way to get between the rows and where leaf footed hoppers take advantage of my captivity and flew at my face.
What is a sucker?
As the plant grows there are leaf nodes that produce a leaf. Eventually, in that space between the main stalk and the leaf a new stalk will form and this is a sucker.
Removing young suckers is as simple as pinching it with my thumb nail. Larger, tougher suckers may require clippers. I found that walking through the tomato patch at least twice a week was necessary to stay on top of things. It got easier to spot the suckers as the plants grew because they took on a less bushy shape. As you can see below, there is no tomato jungle!
Once the plants reached 6 feet tall and began toppling over their cages I stopped paying attention to suckers and the plants are still producing well despite the heat.
I’m sold, it’s definitely worth the extra effort to thin the suckers. What about you?
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