How does one "remove the suckers" from tomato plants?

+4
Answered
I'm a beginner in the garden and need to ask someone to explain how to remove the suckers from my tomato plants.

I totally understand the need (now) but I don't know what they look like so I can take them off and let the remaining plants get all the nutrients as they grow.

Last year, my very expensive heirloom tomato plants (from a fancy mail
order Garden company) only yielded a few small tomatoes. The plants themselves grew to a wonderful 5 feet tall - more like corn stalks. I didn't know about the "suckers".

is there instructions for this? I'd really like to do it right this year.

Thanks!
  7 answers
  • Cindy Cindy on Jun 04, 2017
    Hello Cindy, (That's my name too!) Once your tomatoes have established themselves (6 to 8 weeks old). New little branches will start at the base of the plant. These little branches are called suckers. Just pinch them off. Your garden needs two things: water and sun. I water my garden for 15-20 mins every morning. Hope this helps. Good luck.

  • Dave McGarvey Dave McGarvey on Jun 04, 2017
    Suckers are the little new branches that grow between the main stem and a branch of a tomato plant. If you look at three fingers of your hand, imagine that the fingers on the outside are the main stem and a branch of the plant. The sucker is the finger in between. Some people like to just pop them off, but I find if it doesn't snap cleanly, you can peel the skin of the main plant and cause a large wound. I like to just snip them off, with a pair of household scissors and that always keeps the wound as small as possible. The plant will use less energy healing and have more energy to produce tomatoes.

  • William William on Jun 04, 2017
    Perfect description from Dave. I just pinch them with my finger nails.

  • Stephanie Mitchell Stephanie Mitchell on Jun 05, 2017
    You could use thread scissors. or even a pair of cuticle clippers

  • Lgw Lgw on Jun 05, 2017
    Jerry Bakers gardening books will be very helpful for gardeners that need help and don't want to use a lot of expensive chemicals. Well worth looking into

  • 13526476 13526476 on Jun 05, 2017
    Keep after them; you won't believe how quickly they appear! Dave's description was super clear. While looking the plants over for the suckers, you'll have the opportunity to look for pests, etc., too.

  • Shi23214263 Shi23214263 on Jun 05, 2017
    they're tiny new buds coning from between the stem and the petiole of the leaf. pinch or scissor them off