When to remove the growing tip on tomato plants – tall indeterminate varieties. Bush varieties do not need pruning.
Removing the growing tip from a tomato plant is done in order to maximize growth on the fruit below. There is a limited amount of time for fruit to reach full size and ripen before the cool weather of autumn begins and the growth of plants slows down and are eventually stopped by frost.
Here’s the last video of the sow along which shows how to remove the growing tip on a tall variety.
How many trusses should a tomato plant have?
In a greenhouse it is usual to allow about six or seven trusses to grow before removing the growing tip – more if the greenhouse is heated.
Outside, where temperatures are cooler and growth is usually slower, four or five trusses are usually grown. In a good summer, as we are having in the UK, this amount can be increased but it depends on the time of season.
Time of the season
From flowers to ripe fruit takes around two to three months depending on the variety, so if you still have flowers at the end of July, you won’t have ripe fruit until at least the end of September.
Beefsteak tomato varieties
Large tomatoes normally take longer to mature than the smaller medium and cherry varieties, so removing the growing tip with slightly fewer trusses than on a cherry variety is a good idea if you don’t want to be making chutney!
How to remove the growing tip
Pinch out the growing tip two leaf branches above the highest truss. Also, if you have lower trusses of nearly full size tomatoes and a few flowers still on the end of the same truss, these stragglers can be removed too.
The idea is to allow the plant to put all its energy into the tomatoes that have a chance of reaching full size and becoming ripe before the end of the season.
Of course, continue removing side shoots on tall varieties in order to steer a plants energy into the tomatoes. Bush varieties such as the Tumblers do not need their side shoots removed – they have a different growth habit.