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There is no consensus between tomato plants and hobby gardeners. The plants want to branch out - tomato lovers prefer single-shoot growth with large fruits. Proper thinning will give you the upper hand. Thats how it works.

Why do thinned tomato plants produce larger fruit?

Most tomato plants strive to branch out as profusely as possible. They want to produce lots of flowers and numerous small fruits to reproduce. Tomato gardeners, on the other hand, aim to harvest voluminous fruits. Targeted thinning is therefore essential to steer a tomato plant in the desired direction. Superfluous side shoots are to be removed; referred to as stinging in technical jargon.

As a result, the plant does not waste its energy in bushy growth, but in a limited number of flowers and fruits. Sufficiently supplied with water and nutrients, stately and aromatic tomatoes develop. Tomato plants are continuously thinned out throughout the season because they don't give up easily. This activity therefore plays a central role in nursing.

Identify and thin out stinging shoots

As part of the branching, sterile side shoots, also called stinging shoots, sprout in the leaf axils along the main shoot. Thinning focuses on eliminating them. Here's how to do it:

  • grab a stingy shoot 3-5 centimeters long between two fingers and snap it off
  • Move larger side shoots back and forth until they break out of the leaf axil
  • letting thinned plant material fall to the ground as valuable mulch

The more tomatoes you grow, the quicker a greedy instinct escapes your attention. If there is a risk of a larger wound as a result of thinning out, only break out the shoot tip. At least in this way an exhausting bloom is prevented. If possible, do not cut tomato plants. Compared to breaking out, this method of thinning carries a significantly higher risk of infection by late blight.

tips and tricks

Experienced hobby gardeners prevent the unpleasant smell of plant sap on their fingers by wearing disposable gloves while thinning. Alternatively, a thick layer of Niveacreme effectively prevents the unpleasant smell from developing.

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