We learn from experienced summer residents how to pinch tomatoes correctly: an analysis of the nuances and a step-by-step description of the process

Timely and competent removal of stepchildren from tomatoes will help to get strong plants and a rich harvest. When pruning shoots, take into account the tallness of the variety, the peculiarities of the development of the stems and the planting conditions. We offer a step-by-step technology with a photo of how to correctly pinch tomatoes of different types - from tall to standard varieties.

What is pinning and what does a stepson look like

Grasshopping is the removal of lateral processes that appear in the leaf axils on the main stem of the plant. Newbie gardeners sometimes confuse stepchildren with leaves or flower brushes.

We learn from experienced summer residents how to pinch tomatoes correctly: an analysis of the nuances and a step-by-step description of the process

How to distinguish a stepson from a fruit brush and leaf

In order not to accidentally break off the brush, carefully consider the plant:

  • the stepson always grows out of the bosom - a deepened area between the leaf and the main stem of the tomato;
  • the flower raceme forms on the stem, there are not even leaf rudiments on it - only small buds forming are visible.

Some stepchildren also have buds. In this case, they wait a couple of days until the shoot grows up, so as not to confuse it with a fruit brush.

To distinguish a lateral process from a leaf, take a close look at the lash. The stepson always grows from the bosom of a large, developed leaf; over time, he has several small leaves of his own.

Stepson or not

To find out if you need to pinch a certain tomato variety, check the information on the seed bag or find the description of the variety on the Internet.

Is it possible and what will happen if you do not pinch the tomatoes

Grasshopping is carried out so that the plant gives all its strength to the formation of fruits, and does not spend them on feeding additional shoots.

Attention! If the stepsons are not removed in a timely manner, the green mass of the bush will grow, due to poor ventilation, the risk of diseases will increase. The plant forms few ovaries on the brush, and the formed fruits will be small.

With this in mind, breeders have bred many varieties that do not require pinching.

What varieties can you not pinch

We learn from experienced summer residents how to pinch tomatoes correctly: an analysis of the nuances and a step-by-step description of the process

Undersized do not stepchildren determinant tomatoes of standard varieties. Their growth is limited, and the lateral shoots grow poorly. Therefore, the plant has enough strength to provide food for additional stems and the ovaries.

In areas with a warm climate in open ground, thickening does not harm plants, but in regions with low summer air temperatures and high humidity, it contributes to the appearance of bacterial diseases, late blight. In this case, undersized tomatoes are recommended to be pinned.

How to cut off stepsons

Inexperienced or untimely removal of stepchildren leads to diseases plants, stops its development and reduces productivity.

Fundamental rules

To get a healthy, optimally developing bush, adhere to the following rules for pinching:

  1. The procedure is carried out regularly, at least 1 time per week. With such a frequency, it will be possible to timely notice the appearing processes in the sinuses.
  2. Do not water the ground before pinching.
  3. Shoots 3–5 cm long are removed. When cutting out shoots larger than 5 cm, the plant experiences stress, the wounds heal worse.
  4. Small stepsons break off easily and with a crunch. If they have outgrown the formation phase of the first sheet, a sharp tool is used for trimming.
  5. All instruments are pre-disinfected with a solution of potassium permanganate or chlorhexidine. This will prevent disease transmission from one bush to another.
  6. A small "stump" is left in the bosom so that a new additional shoot does not form in place of the old one.

The best time to remove side shoots is in the morning. During these hours, the movement of juices and nutrients is less active than during the day. The processes are more fragile and easier to break out. During the day, the wounds will have time to heal, and in the evening the plants are watered.

Stealing: technology and features

When forming bushes, the type of tomato growth, growing conditions and methods of pinching are taken into account.

In the open field

We learn from experienced summer residents how to pinch tomatoes correctly: an analysis of the nuances and a step-by-step description of the process

When growing tomatoes in open ground, remove additional shoots, adhering to the basic rules of pinching. The procedure is not carried out in a rainy period - the stems filled with moisture become more flexible and dense, they break off poorly. There is a high risk of developing diseases. It is better to wait for dry weather and remove overgrown shoots than to lose crops due to disease.

In short-barreled standard varieties in the open field, it is not required to cut off the stepsons.

In the greenhouse

In greenhouses Traditionally, tall and medium-sized varieties with a high intensity of formation of stepsons are grown. When processing once a week, the lateral shoots outgrow. They are broken off at least 2 times a week, avoiding thickening of the plants.

Advice! On the eve of pinching, do not water the ground in the greenhouse in order to achieve dry air. Provide good ventilation after pruning in sunny weather.

Gardeners argue which method of removing lateral shoots in a greenhouse is more rational to use - pruning or breaking out of the bosom. The choice of method depends on the specific growing conditions. If the plantings are thickened, the greenhouse has high air humidity and an increased infectious background, pruning will lead to the appearance of gray rot on the "stumps" left in the sinuses. In this case, the processes are broken out.

We learn from experienced summer residents how to pinch tomatoes correctly: an analysis of the nuances and a step-by-step description of the process

How the procedure varies depending on the type of tomato

To understand how to pinch a plant correctly, it is important to know in advance which type it belongs to, depending on the growth characteristics. Before buying and growing, it is advisable to study the varietal description of the tomato on the website or in the information materials of the nursery where the seedlings were purchased.

There are 2 main types of tomatoes:

  • indeterminate varieties - are distinguished by unlimited stem growth;
  • determinant - they grow to a height defined by the varietal characteristics, and then bend.

Determinants are subdivided into subtypes:

  • semi-determinant - medium-sized;
  • superdeterminate - undersized, standard.

This knowledge in the future will help you not to make a mistake when removing stepsons and forming a bush.

Scheme of pinching indeterminate and determinant varieties

Indeterminate varieties very actively release additional shoots, and brushes with ovaries are formed only after 3 leaves. Therefore, keeping such tomatoes in 1 stalk and timely pruning of stepchildren are prerequisites for obtaining a good harvest in the future.

For the formation of 1 stem, as soon as the plant begins to release additional shoots, they are immediately removed. The main and only stem is tied up with twine, like a liana, to the trellis.

Determinant tomatoes are formed according to patterns of 2 or 3 stems. The growth of the main shoot in these plants is limited.At any moment, it can stop developing, even if it is still far from the end of summer. To prolong growth and get a good yield in determinant types of tomatoes, additional stems are left on the bush.

2-stem scheme: the strongest and healthiest shoot is chosen on the main stem and grown as an equivalent second stem. They tie and stepchild him in the same way as the main one.

3-stem scheme: in addition to the main shoot, 2 more strong shoots are left on the lower part of the plant. This is the most common option. If a powerful stepson is at the top, it is allowed to grow him as a third stem.

Semi-determinant type of tomato

Semi-determinant tomatoes grow up to 150-180 cm. The main stem of such a plant always ends - it ends growth, forming a peduncle at the end. The height of the main shoot and the number of ovaries on it depend on varietal characteristics.

If you keep such a tomato in 1 stem, the yield will be extremely low. Therefore, 2 additional well-developed stepsons are left on the main stem, 3-4 brushes will grow on them. To assess how strong the shoot will be, they are waiting for it to grow up to 5 cm.If the shoot turns out to be weak and throws out few inflorescences, they pinch it and begin to form a new one.

Grasshopping of standard tomatoes

Standard varieties and hybrids are distinguished by strong, dense stems and leaves. Most often these are compact low-growing determinant tomatoes up to 70–90 cm high. They do not release shoots so actively, therefore they do not require pinching.

Reference. To obtain an earlier and more harmonious harvest with large fruits from a low-growing standard tomato, 2-3 stepsons are left on the stem and no more than 6-8 inflorescences.

Experienced gardeners prefer to pinch even such varieties in order to increase the yield and weight of the fruit. Otherwise, the bushes will be too thick, which will interfere with good ventilation and increase the risk of late blight. For optimal growth and yield, leave 3-4 stems per plant.

Grazing large-fruited tomatoes

When pinching large-fruited tomatoes, there are nuances. Stepchildren are removed in the leaf axil directly under the developing brush, otherwise it will be difficult to achieve the declared varietal characteristics in terms of fruit weight. The fact is that the leaves of tomatoes accumulate nutrients and gradually give them to growing and pouring fruits. Under the brush, the stepson will take all the minerals from the leaf for his own development.

How to pinch tall varieties

Tall tomatoes with unlimited growth are most often carried out according to the 1-stem scheme, cutting off absolutely all appearing processes. So the plants do not lose their strength for the development of additional shoots and leaves, but redirect them to the formation of ovaries and fruits. Inflorescences are formed through 3 leaves, 6–8 clusters are formed on one stem, depending on the variety.

In conditions when the height of the greenhouse is small, and the potential for the formation of the number of brushes in the variety is not exhausted, one of the stepsons is left to guide the second stem. To do this, choose the strongest shoot under the brush or basal process.

Do I need to remove the first stepson

Immediately after the formation of the flower cluster, stepchildren begin to grow in the leaf axils. They are removed if the tomato is in 1 stem. If the plans include a two- or three-barreled scheme for growing tomatoes, stepchildren are allowed to grow up to 5-7 cm and the strongest of them is chosen. Most often, this is the first shoot under a flower brush. A powerful additional stem is obtained from it.

If the first subcystic stepson is mistakenly removed, a shoot above the flower brush is used for an additional stem. In this case, the harvest will be later, since the ovaries on the brush will receive nutrition from the root first.

How long to remove stepchildren on tomatoes

Stepsons appear on tomatoes from 2 weeks after disembarkation. Their formation continues throughout the growing season.Sometimes additional processes begin to grow again in those sinuses, where they were previously removed. This is a varietal feature of tomatoes. Therefore, additional shoots are removed until the final harvest.

When and how to pinch tomatoes

Determinant tomatoes finish growing on their own, releasing a flower raceme on the stem. Tall Indets grow indefinitely, so gardeners carry out pinching or edging of the stem.

The top of the stem is broken off or cut off so that 2 leaves remain after the flower brush. In the future, they will feed the ovaries.

Reference. Stem growth is limited at the end of the growing season, so that the fruits have time to fill and ripen. Depending on the region, this period falls on July - August.

The top is pinched just before the bush reaches the greenhouse ceiling. On the side shoots, the growing point is removed in order to redirect the flow of nutrients to the development of another stem and the tomatoes ripen better.

Key recommendations

We learn from experienced summer residents how to pinch tomatoes correctly: an analysis of the nuances and a step-by-step description of the process

Experienced gardeners, on their own or someone else's mistakes, have already studied all the nuances of pinching tomatoes. Let's list their main recommendations:

  1. Before removing the stepsons, take a close look at them: do not confuse a flower brush with a side shoot.
  2. Remove stepchildren regularly and in a timely manner, do not allow their size to be more than 5 cm.
  3. Carefully study the description of the variety in order to properly form the bush. Depending on the belonging of the plant to the indeterminate or determinant type, as well as the place of cultivation (in the open ground or greenhouse), select the pinching scheme.
  4. Standard varieties that do not require pinching according to the recommendations of breeders, in small areas, lead in 3-4 stems so as not to create thickening of the bushes, the appearance of rot and late blight.
  5. Pinch the lateral stems and tops of indeterminate tomatoes in time.


To correctly carry out pinching, the type of tomato growth is determined: indeterminate ones are formed in 1 stem, determinant ones - in 2 and 3. In medium-sized varieties, 2 developed lateral processes are left, some gardeners advise to form standard plants in 3-4 stems. Tomatoes are regularly harvested until the end of the fruiting season. Do not allow thickening of landings.

2 comment
  1. Avatar

    I am a beginner gardener, the article helped me a lot, thanks!

    • Andrey Palych
      Andrey Palych

      Fine! We are sure that you will succeed 🙂

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