How to Pinch out side shoots on Tomato plants

Illustration of side shoots on Tomato plant
Illustration of side shoots on Tomato plant

This only applies to the upright type of tomato and not the bushy types.

With Cordon tomatoes, the upright varieties as the plant grows, it is essential to remove all new side shoots, which appear at the junction between the upright stem and the branch. Look at the plant's main stem, and where the branches grow, any little shoot appearing at the junction of the upright stem, at right angles with the branch needs to be removed. 

This is because tomatoes are very vigorous and they will not only grow up and up, if allowed, they will also grow many side shoots and become a tangled mass of leaves and fruit less.

In the image left, the arrow shows the side shoot which grows at the junction. During the growing season, the plant will continually produce side shoots at the junction of the plant and stems; keep removing them.

By doing this, you contain the plant's growth; you do not want a lot of extra branches growing out sideways. Unless these shoots are removed,  the plant because it is so vigorous, will produce a mass of leaves and shoots. By restricting growth, it will produce more fruits. Below is a short 2mins 30 sec video showing how to remove the side shoots.

The next step in tomato growing is to contain the plants' upward growth.

Stopping off Tomato plants

Step-by-step guide to growing tomatoes

Follow the Sunday gardener's step-by-step advice about growing tomatoes to ensure you have a successful sweet tasty crop every harvest. 

  1. How to grow tomatoes
  2. How to grow tomatoes from seed and what to do about weedy seedlings
  3. What are the easiest tomatoes to grow? Cordon or Bush?
  4. How to pot on tomatoes, dos and don'ts,  and why it is important.
  5. Hardening off tomatoes for growing outside
  6. Stopping off  Tomatoes
  7. The Best way to Water and Feed Tomatoes
  8. How to ripen Green Tomatoes
  9. Common pest and diseases when growing tomatoes
  10. If you have found these tips helpful, why not buy the book: Success with Tomatoes The Sunday Gardener's guide to growing tomatoes, packed full of practical tips and helpful images, everything you need to know to grow a tasty crop. Only £6.20
Tomatoes growing in greenhouse

last updated 19.12.21