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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Identifying and Removing Tomato Suckers!

You don't have to remove them. They don't damage your plant. I do leave them on sometimes. The problem is they are new growth shoots and will branch all over. They make the tomato more dense with leaves and that could, I say could, be problematic.

I tend my tomatoes to remove bottom growth and thin them out by removing suckers. I might run an experiment where I actually tend a single vine up a pole and remove every sucker. That is what you see a lot in books, but I rarely have that much time. Here are two pictures to show you what a sucker is, so you can decide what to do with them.  I suggest removing some.

My Finger is Pointing Directly at the Sucker.

The sucker grows between the V of a branch and main stem. I have a link to an article I wrote under tomatoes that details this more.

Removed! You can See the Nub.

Try and cut as close as you can without damaging the stem or branch. You should do this on a dry sunny day. The opening could let disease etc in. The sun will dry and help it to heal and seal. You could also put some sulfur spray on the wound. I don't always do that but am now pruning and tending as I carry my sprayer. I really believe Early Blight will be bad this year in Maryland. I am spraying preventatively!


  1. Hi Gary, I love your info! Thanks.... My tomato plants are huge this year and I have them growing in half barrels. I'm new at all this and wonder if it's too late to cut some of the suckers off and what is sulfur spray, where would I get it?

  2. It's never to late to remove suckers. I have 30 plants and do groups of plants differently. A blog is coming up about that.

    Basically, if you can tend your plant you can lot a lot of suckers mature into growth stems. If you plants are big enough. Just start removing all the new ones from today forward.

    If you plant is congested up top, prune away a lot leaves and some stems. You want air to circulate through them.

    Wettable sulfur is what I use to make a spray to control tomato disease. I'll blog it this week. Order it on-line. Search wettable sulfur.

  3. try power milk when planting tomatoes

  4. Powder milk? On the leaves as a preventative? I read that works for mildews. I also read people use it in the soil as a calcium source.


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