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I am currently main stemming my tomato plants due to limited space in my garden. From what I have read about main stemming tomato plants, you simply pluck the suckers from the plant. Every article, tutorial and video I have seen on the subject states that a sucker forms between the main stem of the plant and a leafing branch.

Everything was working out great and all the plants, roughly 30 heirlooms, had only one stem. Then some of the plants started suckering from flowering / fruiting branches. I have not been able to find out any information on why this is happening and no articles or videos have addressed this.

To be clear the flowering branches are not just putting out more flowering branches, in some cases they have grown into an entire new stem with lots of suckers. What should I do with these suckers and stems coming from flowering branches? I would like to remove them because these stems and suckers are getting too large.

I've attached a picture, of a Black Krim tomato plant, showing the suckering / new stem growth.

Picture of a Black Krim tomato plant showing the mentioned suckering and new stem growth.

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    I have seen this as well. I currently have one plant out of 5 that did this.
    – Evil Elf
    Jun 26, 2020 at 10:27

3 Answers 3

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They look quite healthy, which is important. Interesting that there is rather emphatic information about suckers, but that its sort of incomplete. Thats the way they grow, there isnt much that can be done if there simply isnt enough space, but they dont seem too dense, so may be able to wind them back carefully and retain more of them: whether or not the new branches are removed has more to do with making them tall; new branches can be excellent producers. Sometimes can root branches and plant them alongside the main ones. Havent ever been a big fan of pruning tomatoes, much of their energy goes into those auxiliary branches, just keep them steadily with enough water, and nutrient and light!

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This is less common than sprouting in the axil (between the main stem and leaf stem), but it definitely happens. In my experience it seems to be genetic - a plant will either do it or it won't. Apart from making for a more straggly plant it doesn't seem to do any harm.

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I know it does happen sometimes, but I don't know why. It probably has something to do with regulators, growing conditions, and genetics (but nothing you should really worry about, since it would be a difficult thing to control or predict with what we seem to know about this sort of thing).

For your chosen method of pruning tomatoes, I'm pretty sure you're supposed to remove all the suckers (even the suckers on the peduncles).

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