Pruning overgrown tomato plants is required in order to shift the plant’s resources back toward the production of fruit rather than toward the growth of foliage; thus, it is essential to be familiar with the process.

Process of Pruning Tomato Plants

It is possible to accomplish this goal by cutting off suckers and removing leaves that have turned yellow to promote healthy fruit production and help prevent plant diseases. To gain an understanding of the process of pruning tomatoes, read this easy and detailed article. 

We provide a step-by-step guide that is simple to follow as we break down the process in a comprehensive manner.

How to Prune Overgrown Tomato Plants?

To prune overgrown tomato plants, you must first know your plant’s variety and snip away the unwanted suckers. Aim to cut back the unwanted suckers, and cut back any unwanted growth. Make sure you prune the tomatoes before the frost season, untangle the vines, pinch and remove, and try topping. 

Overgrown tomatoes can be pruned by snipping away suckers, removing the dead, decayed leaves and stems, and cutting back on the unwanted growth. Doing so will aid in better production of tomato fruit instead of the plant diverting its energy towards foliage development.

– Know Your Tomato Varieties

Determinate and indeterminate tomato plants are the two primary varieties of tomatoes. Tomatoes with a determinate growth pattern should not have their branches pruned because this will not result in larger fruit or a healthier plant. 

Varieties of Tomato Plants

The only conceivable cutting of the excess leaves, in this case, would be the ones that need to be done by taking out the suckers located beneath the first flower cluster. Pruning indeterminate tomatoes is essential, and the process can be done using the ways mentioned here.

– Snipping Away the Unwanted Suckers

During the growing season, you should examine each tomato plant in your vegetable garden once per week to search for and cut off undesired growth tips known as suckers. These suckers grow as new stems from a previously pruned or dead portion of a plant and as the plant gets bushier over time when they are left as such, they will eventually develop from most of the nodes of each branch.

Snipping Away the Unwanted Suckers

What you should do is grab the emerging new growth and pull sharply downward to remove the suckers. When the sucker is tiny, it can be removed easily with one pinch. Garden shears cleaned with a diluted solution of alcohol should be used to remove huge suckers. 

Remember that the best way to eliminate the suckers, s to cut them down to the point where just two leaves are left on the plant. After doing so, you should aim to collect the removed suckers and then compost them.

– Cut Back Any Unwanted Growth

Remove any dead or yellowing leaves that you find. This is a simple pruning first step that will assist in decluttering the overgrown area; as a result, you can concentrate on cutting the remaining branches. 

Cutting Unwanted Growth

To prune tomato plants that have become overgrown, you should be mindful and refrain from the three stems that are the strongest and aim to remove all other stems from the base. In this case, you should try to avoid removing more than one-third of the plant at a time. 

Moreover, remove any branches that are damaged or dead. You can do this by eliminating any undesirable growth shoots and trimming down branches that are too long. It is unnecessary to abstain from cutting off branches and nodes with flower clusters or fruit. On another note, remember that after around two weeks of significant pruning, the plant will resume its average growth.

– Prune Tomatoes Before the First Frost of the Season

One month before the first frost in your zone, you should cut back your tomato plants so that they are only a few inches tall. Eliminate any growth tips that may be present on the plant so that the plant’s resources can be directed solely toward the development of the fruit. 

Following this course of action will give you the best possible chance of bringing those tough, green fruits to full size, causing them to swell, and turning them red in time for harvest. Moreover, this is the season when they will grow quite less than what they used to, which means you should aim to do so before the season approaches. 

Prune Tomatoes Before the First Frost of the Season

It is absolutely necessary to strip the tree of all of the leaves and lower branches that are in direct contact with the soil. This will help to prevent infection from soil-borne diseases such as blight, which may have a chance of occurring, particularly when the surrounding environment is cold and damp.

– Untangle Vines

Some vines get tangled up with each other or get caught up in the support structure of your tomatoes, and this is especially likely to happen if you have fallen behind on your schedule of pruning tomatoes. To begin, remove everything below the next cluster that can be harvested by performing some light trimming at first. Now, you may aim to untangle, because it will prevent several tomato pruning mistakes; as a result, you should try to separate the twisted sections gently 

Untangle Vines of Tomato Plants

At this stage, if you come across a spot on the vine that has split along the middle due to insufficient support, attach the detached section using a tomato clip right below the portion of the vine. If the split extends for more than an inch or two, you should also attach a clip to the top of the split. This means that if you are concerned about how to support overgrown tomato plants, you can use simple clips and the task would be accomplished.

– Pinch and Remove the Leaflet

Missouri pruning is the process where you pinch leaflets on the end of each sucker, to leave behind only two base leaflets. These leaflets enlarge with time, and they shade fruit and protect it from sun-scald. 

Pinch and Remove the Leaflet


What you should do is try to remove tomato suckers when they’re tiny and tender to pinch with your fingers, and you must do your best not to leave a gaping wound on the stem. If you have to cut them, use a sharp knife or pruner blade, ensure that they are well sterilized, and make a clean cut as close to the main stems as possible without damaging stem tissue.

– Topping

Even after the typical season for growing tomatoes has passed, there is a good chance that the plants will continue to produce fruit if the conditions are right. When this occurs, remove the growing tip from each main stem approximately four weeks before the first frost that is projected to occur in the fall. 

Topping Tomato Plants

Remember that the maturation process will be sped up as a result of this later in the season. This method of pruning, also known as “topping,” and what it does is that it benefits the plant and causes it to stop producing flowers and instead start producing new fruit, which will mature more rapidly.

– Pruning Indeterminate Varieties in Their Cages

If you have the tomato plant growing in cages, here is what you need to do. Many gardeners who support their plants with tomato cages or tomato towers pinch off the suckers that grow on the lower stems of the plant while allowing the suckers that grow higher up the plant to continue growing. 

Pruning Overgrown Tomato Plants

It serves beneficial when your tomato plants too big for cage. This is the way for pruning tomato plants in cages and the plant would develop as you get rid of its overgrown phase. 


You are now equipped with the knowledge necessary to prune a tomato plant that has become overgrown.

The following is a summary of all of the information that was covered in the guide.

  • Tomatoes that have become overgrown can be pruned by removing dead leaves and stems as well as cutting back on the growth that is not desired.
  • If you do this, rather than allowing the plant’s energy to be directed toward the growth of its foliage, you will be able to improve the plant’s production of tomato fruit by allowing its energy to be directed toward the production of tomato fruit.
  • During the growing season, you should check on each tomato plant in your vegetable garden once a week in order to search for and remove unwanted growth tips known as suckers.
  • One month before the first frost in your zone, you should prune all of your tomato plants so that they are as close to the ground as possible.
  • It is important to remove any new growth that may have appeared on the plant in order to concentrate all of the plant’s energy and resources on the ripening of the fruit.

You now have an understanding of how simple it is to perform the required pruning on the tomato plant. Therefore, if you have a vegetable garden that contains tomatoes, you should brace yourself with pruning tools so that there is the potential for a bountiful yield in the coming seasons.

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