Tomato Suckers: What Are They and How Do You Deal With Them?


Tomato suckers can affect the health and yield of your tomato plants, but they can be managed well with care and attention. Tomato suckers can affect the health and yield of your tomato plants, but they can be managed well with care and attention.

If you know what they are and how to find and get rid of them, you can make sure you get a lot of tasty, juicy tomatoes. If you give your tomato plants the care and attention they need, they will grow well and give you tasty, healthy food.

What are tomato suckers?

Tomato suckers are new stems that grow where a branch meets the main stem of the plant. They are also called “suckers” because they can take food and water from the main stem and use that energy to grow themselves instead of making fruit.

There are many different kinds of tomato suckers, such as:

  • Water sprouts:The main stem grows straight up in thin, unusual-looking shoots.
  • Leafy shoots: sprouts that grow from the part of the plant where the leaf and stem meet.
  • Fruit-bearing branches:fruit-bearing branches that grow from the main stem.

Why do tomato plants produce suckers?

As they grow, tomato plants make suckers, which are also called “sideshoots” or “suckers.” A tomato plant’s axils (where the stem meets the branch) are where suckers grow. Most of the time, they are small, and their colours range from light green to purple.

Most of the time, suckers don’t make fruit. Instead, they take energy away from the main stem and take away important nutrients from the tomatoes that are growing. Some experts say that tomato suckers can be helpful, even though many gardeners choose to cut them off to get more tomatoes.

Tomato suckers can give shade to developing tomatoes, which can keep them from getting sunscald. Also, removing them too quickly can make the plant more likely to get sick or be attacked by other pests.

Why are tomato suckers a problem?

Even though tomato suckers might not seem dangerous, they can hurt the growth and productivity of your plant. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Less fruit: If you don’t get rid of tomato suckers, they will take energy away from making fruit, which will lower the yield of your tomato plant.
  • Disease risk: Tomato suckers can make a thick cover that blocks the flow of air and holds in moisture, which can cause fungus diseases to grow.
  • Too many suckers: Too many suckers can make a plant too crowded and tangled, making it hard to pick fruit or check for pests or diseases.

Identifying Tomato Suckers:

It’s important to know what tomato suckers look like so you can get rid of them before they hurt your plants. Here are some ways to tell if a bug is a tomato sucker:

  • The place where the leaf meets the stem is where a shoot grows. Most of the time, they are lighter in colour than the main stem and have smaller leaves.
  • Leaf suckers grow from the leaf axils as small buds with a single leaf attached.
  • Root suckers are easy to spot because they grow at the base of the stem and often have more than one leaf.
  • Suckers can grow fast, so you should check your tomato plants often for new growth.

How to Deal with Tomato Suckers

Now that we’ve talked about the problems tomato suckers can cause, let’s look at what to do about them.

1. Prune tomato suckers

The best way to deal with tomato suckers is to cut them off as soon as you see them. Follow these steps to do this:

  • Wait until the first true leaves have grown on your tomato plant.
  • Use clean, sharp pruning shears to cut off any suckers that grow from the point where a branch meets the main stem.
  • Remove any water sprouts and shoots with leaves, but leave any branches that have fruit on them alone.
  • Do this every two weeks during the growing season to keep your plant healthy and giving you fruit.

2. Tying Up

You can also get rid of suckers by tying up your tomato plants. When the plants have stakes or cages to hold them up, they are less likely to send out suckers. Here are some tips on how to tie up your tomato plants:

  • Hold up your tomato plants with strong stakes or cages.
  • Use soft ties, like strips of fabric or twine, to connect the main stem to the support.
  • Make sure the ties aren’t too tight because that could hurt the stem.
  • Check the ties often to make sure they aren’t cutting into the stem.

3. Watering and Fertilizing

Tomato suckers can also be avoided by watering and fertilizing plants properly. Here are some tips for giving your tomato plants water and food:

  • Water your tomato plants deeply, but not too often. Between waterings, let the soil dry out a bit. Too much watering can make suckers grow, so it’s important to find the right amount.
  • Use a balanced fertiliser that has the same amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium when you feed your tomato plants. Too much nitrogen can also make the plant send out new shoots, so don’t over-fertilize.
  • Consider using a slow-release fertiliser that feeds your plants slowly over time instead of a fast-acting fertiliser that can make your plants grow quickly.

4. Removing Root Suckers

Root suckers should be cut off as soon as possible because they can quickly grow into new plants that compete for nutrients with the main plant. How to get rid of root suckers:

  • Carefully dig around the stem’s base, where the sucker is growing, and where the root is.
  • Cut the sucker off at the base with a clean, sharp knife.
  • Cover the spot where the sucker was cut with dirt to stop it from growing back.

Alternatives to removing tomato suckers

If you don’t want to cut off tomato suckers, there are other things you can do. You can train or prune tomato suckers to grow on a trellis or in a different direction. It’s important to remember that if you don’t check on the tomatoes, they won’t make as much fruit.

To train tomato suckers, tie them loosely to the stake, trellis, or other support with soft twine or twist ties. About every six inches along the length of each stem, you should tie it down. This will keep it in place and keep it from getting tangled. As the stick grows, add more ties to keep it in place. Make sure to keep the ties loose so that they don’t cut off the flow of air.

If you want your tomato plant to make more fruit and don’t mind losing a few leaves, you can prune the suckers. You can remove small stems and leaves by pruning without hurting the main stems and branches. Just cut off the small stems and leaves that are close to the main stem with sharp pruners or scissors. When the sun isn’t at its strongest, early morning or late evening are the best times to prune.


When growing tomatoes, tomato suckers are a typical problem that might occur, but they can be handled with the right care and attention. You can maintain your tomato plants healthy and fruitful by spotting suckers and employing trimming, tying up, and appropriate watering and feeding strategies. You can guarantee a plentiful supply of tasty, juicy tomatoes by following these recommendations.

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