Early De-Shooting of Tomato Plants

Just bumped up this post from last year, to remind you about removing shoots on your tomato plants.

Now that my tomato plants are well established  planted out in the soil and are having regular weekly feeds, they are putting on a nice growth spurt and need de-shooting. The only tomato plants that do not need de-shooting are mainly the bush varieties, so they can be left to their own devices. I tend to grow cordon style of tomatoes indoors to get the maximum crop from the space, they also crop all season where as bush varieties mainly crop over a short period.
More info about tying up plants, with a short video  

Side shoots are easy to spot, as they normally grow out between a leaf and the stem. However, as shown in this photo, this side shoot is growing straight out of the stem. It is easy to identify as it is thinner than the main stem, so just pinch it out with your finger tips or a small sharp knife as close to the stem as possible.
More info about removing shoots

Twin Headed Plants - You will find that some tomato plants will split into a double head, in this case just cut out the weakest one, or if in doubt leave it  a week or so to see which one is the stronger head.

No Head On Tomato Plant - You will also occasionally find that a plant suddenly has no head, so you are left with just a truss. In this case you will need to let a lower side shoot take over as the main stem for the plant. We call this Growing Blind and I do find it happens more on  beefsteak tomato plants. Here is an example below, which luckily shows a nice shoot which I can use as the main plant.

I have also tied up most of my tomato plants this week, box cord is best as it rots in the compost heap and is slightly wider than polypropylene string, so will not cut into the plant with a heavy load later in the season. Some people use poles to support their plants, but with such a heavy crop on them they will slide down the poles.


  1. You are way ahead having that polytunnel! We've had frosts most mornings lately with this sunny weather so wondered how warm it is in the polytunnel? I shall be buying tomato plants in mid May - you'll probably be eating them not long after that! :-)

    1. Hi Mandy
      The poly-tunnel is no warmer than outside, glass structures are slightly better and hold the heat longer. I took a risk with the bought plant and did cover them with fleece for about a week as we did have frost about with cloudless skys.

  2. So glad you told me about the plants 'growing blind' without a lead shoot. I keep thinking that I pinched out a leading shoot by mistake. I am so fastidious about pinching out side shoots. I will keep a look out now. Yes, it is usually the beefsteaks.

  3. I seem to get it every year on my beefsteaks, so I try to leave the last top shoot longer just in case.

  4. Great article with excellent idea! I appreciate your post. Thanks so much and let keep on sharing your stuffs keep it up.

  5. Thanks for sharing useful info on virtually identical, here i got lots of knowledge about it.


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