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How To Prune Cherry Tomato Plants? Should We Even Bother

How to prune cherry tomato plants

“…man, I wish there was a delicious fruit that I could enjoy without worrying about weight gain!” “…why are fruits so full of calories?” 

Have these types of questions ever occurred to you? 

The answer to these and many other similar questions lie in cherry tomatoes. Nor only are they super nutritious and flavorful, they are very low in calories. Unlike the traditional tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, as the name suggests, are smaller in size. In our home, when it’s cherry tomato season, we always have a big bowl full out on the bench for snacking. Delicious!

It’s an unending debate, “Whether to prune the cherry tomatoes or not?” Many people have tried to answer this question before but unfortunately, there’s a lot of ground to cover in a limited time and space. We have tried to settle this debate once and for all along with an explanation for how to prune cherry tomato plants.

Can We Prune Our Cherry Tomato Plants?

To answer this question, you need to know whether your plant is a determinate form or an indeterminate form. Don’t know what that is? Let me explain!

Your cherry tomato plant is determined if it has a top flower cluster. This cluster causes the plant to stop growing vertically due to the cluster. As a rule of thumb, this kind of plant should not be pruned as it only produces a fixed number of fruits. However, you can cut the extra foliage close to the ground to improve air circulation. 

If your cherry tomato plant grows clusters laterally then it is indeterminate. Indeterminate cherry tomato plants can be pruned as they continue to grow throughout the season.

Why Should We Prune?

You might start to wonder, how will pruning my cherry tomato plant exactly help the plant? Before we discuss that topic, we first must know what pruning is. Pruning is the practice of trimming some parts of the plant such as leaves, roots, branches, and stems to retain the plant’s health, increase its yield, and in some cases to control its growth. It does seem counterproductive to cut off some parts of your plant for the sake of its well-being I know, but let me explain.

Pruning involves cutting off some parts of the plan that are either sick or dead. These parts are dead weights to the plants are a waste of energy resources and may even in some cases cause a disease that can spread to the entire plant. However, there also practices that also prune off some healthy parts, and this is done to increase the yield of the plant. By removing some healthy parts, the plant transfers its energy resources to the many essential parts such as increasing the yield of fruits or improves a flower’s bloom. It is also done to control a plant’s growth to avoid it choking other plants in the garden.

In the case of your plant, although pruning of cherry tomato plants is widely considered taboo, pruning can help control the size and shape of the plant. By cutting the unnecessary branches on the indeterminate cherry tomato plants, the quality of the fruit on other branches increases. Pruning also frees up valuable space and helps air circulation. Better ventilation prevents the plant from diseases and makes it healthy. Determinate plants can also be pruned from the bottom to increase air ventilation. 

How To Prune Cherry Tomato Plants For Maximum Yield

Now that we’ve covered the key concepts behind the reason for pruning, it’s time to get down to business.

You may want to consider our tips first before you start pruning your cherry tomato plant. Firstly, make sure to avoid as much as possible plucking the plant and instead use tools. Plucking the plant sometimes can damage some parts of the plant that were not intended to be pruned off. So instead use some tools such as shears or scissors to do a much cleaner cut in pruning your plant.

You may also want to clean those tools before you get to pruning your plant. Failing to clean those tools may bring diseases to your plant instead. Using alcohol or soap with water will do the job. This is especially so much more needed when you are pruning from stem to stem, you don’t want to spread those diseases around your plant due to infected tools.

How To Prune Cherry Tomato Plants

Start Pruning Even Before Planting:

Before planting the plant, make sure that there are no leaves on the part of the stem to be buried. Leaves easily rot underground. This can cause damage to the roots.

Reduce Number of Main Stems

There shouldn’t be more than 3 main stems if there is a supporting trellis, and no more than 5 if the plant is cage supported. Prune the additional stems to the ground as they will make the plant difficult to manage and will shade the inner branches. Don’t be greedy for more fruit! The quality of the fruit can drop drastically if you don’t provide enough sunlight.

Cut the Side Branches and Leaves at the Bottom: De-leafing Tomato Plants

De-leafing is the practice of removing leaves from the bottom of the plant to improve air circulation. 

Increased air circulation makes the plant more resistant to diseases.

When de-leafing tomato plants, make sure to need to remove the side growth from the bottom where the foliage is in contact with the ground. This will keep pathogens from hopping on the plant.  

Make sure to cut below the first cluster of fruit as we don’t want to lose any of our precious cherry tomatoes.

Remove Damaged and Diseased Leaves

It should be an obligation for you to frequently check your cherry tomato plants, Damaged and diseased leaves should be cut ASAP! This will restrict the damage to only the affected areas. Yellow, spotted, and eaten leaves should be cut. If left unattended, those dead or diseased leaves can cause sickness to your plant.

Remove Suckers

Suckers are the new branches growing from the main tree. They are called suckers because they suck the nutrients of the plant which could be better utilized for the production of the fruits. People have a difference of opinion about whether or not to prune suckers. 

People who don’t want to prune suckers believe that they can bear fruit as well, However, we encourage the removal of suckers because they can make it difficult for us to manage the plant

In some studies, it is recommended to remove those suckers or at least a number of them. If all the suckers are allowed to grow on their own, they will instead compete with the leaves, leaves, and the fruits for energy resources. In your cherry tomatoes, these suckers can also get dense and even can get entangled. By limiting the number of suckers, the plant’s energy resources are redirected to the fruits instead which increases the quality of the yield.

Dispose of the Pruning Remains

Don’t let the cuttings from pruning to remain in your garden, Rotting of the dead leaves can damage other plants. Get rid of them by either throwing them in the trash or using them for fire. 

Avoid Over Pruning Tomatoes

As mentioned before, determinate cherry tomatoes shouldn’t be cut except for a little cutting at the base. As for the indeterminates, it is important to avoid over pruning tomatoes. Over pruning can damage your plant beyond repair and you’d be “digging your own grave”. You should not cut more than needed. Over pruning can also expose the fruit to direct sunlight. Direct sunlight is damaging to the fruits. It is important to maintain a balance between foliage and fruit when pruning the indeterminate cherry tomato plants.

Tip to Increase Fruit Yield

Since our goal is to learn how To prune cherry tomato plants for maximum yield,  this tip should raise many eyebrows. The trick is to surround the cherry tomato plant with a cage. That way, you can increase the number of main stems to 4 or 5. The quantity of fruit will increase in proportion. 


The cherry tomato plant grows just fine without pruning. Many people are even against the idea of pruning altogether. It’s important to note that we didn’t encourage the heavy pruning of the cherry tomato plant which is usually associated with herbs. We have only been impressed by the idea that light pruning of the unnecessary leaves and branches can help improve the overall health of the plant. 

Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow and easy to take care of. The little pruning they need can be taken care of by following this ‘how to prune cherry tomato plants’.

Now that you have learned how to prune your cherry tomato plant, do you have any tips or thoughts on this topic? Or some questions perhaps? Comment it below! Our website also offers some guides as well such as How to Prune Fiddle Leaf Fig and How to Prune Flowers.

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