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Hi, I have a dilemma! I went away last week and when I returned some of my tomato plants have grown a sucker around the bottom of the plant which have produced flowers, I don't know whether to cut them off or not...seems a shame but have read that suckers will reduce the plants yield. Any advice greatly appreciated

Be Brave,and remove them ( assuming they're cordon types)

. I know it's tempting to leave them, but they should go

Thank you Hostafan 1, what's a cordon?? Sorry new too veg and fruit gardening!! If I remove them should I cut as close to the main stem as possible?

It is usual to use your fingers to take them out.  They will break of at a ready-made joint.

Or is that just me?


I use my fingers - just fudge around in the compost until you find where they're coming from the main stem, then snap them back in the other direction and pull gently.  Should come away easily. 


Steve 309

Definitely remove them, along with any side-shoots (which emerge from the joints between leaf and main stem).  It's true what they say: they do sap the plant's 'strength' and reduce yield.  I tried it last year.

However, all is not lost.  Put the removed shoot in a glass of water and it will grow roots in a week or two.  When they're an inch long, pot it up and you have a new plant for free.

A cordon is what you get when you remove all the side shoots: a tall plant with only one stem and no branches.  The plant will keep on growing upwards till it runs out of light/heat in the mid-autumn (or late autumn in a greenhouse) or until you pinch out the top, which you do a bit before that.  Most tomato varieties are like this; some are 'bush' types on which you leave the sideshoots on.


a cordon is grown on wire, cane or string. its only one stem with no side branches


See if you can find out if its a determinate or indeterminate variety. Leave the shoots on the first type, pick them off of the latter.

Does anyone know if I should pinch out the side shoots of Marzano tomatoes? Haven't grown this variety before.......they are doing well in unheated greenhouse. Thanks in advance for any advice. 


They are generally grown as cordon (ie no side shoots) but the heirloom variety is semi-determinate so can be grown either way.  To confuse us further, there is also a bush version!

They look like a bush variety to me, no definite main stem. I think I will leave them til they are a bit bigger, just take off the very lowest side shoots with no apparent flowers......should have stayed with Gardeners Delight!


That's what I'd do too.  Most toms can be grown as a bush, but that sometimes means the fruit can all come together and rather late, so they don't have time to ripen if we have a bad summer.  Fingers crossed!

Thanks, will just make green tomato chutney [ which is utterly delicious] if they don't ripen.



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