If you are new to growing tomatoes, one thing that sometimes causes confusion is, how to remove tomato side shoots.
These are the shoots or suckers that grow out between the vertical stem of a tall tomato plant and the leaf branches.
Here’s a video that explains how best to remove them.
If you use a blade such as a knife or scissors to remove them, it is possible to transfer disease from plant to plant. So pinching them out is the safest method.
What Happens If They Are Left To Grow?
If side shoots are not removed, the plant’s growing energy will be directed outwards into the side shoots.
Each of these shoots will form a further truss and the plant will become more of a bush in shape.
Sometimes, this is how people grow their tomato plants – their tall varieties, but you need to be in an area where there is a long season (warm climate area) for this to work and for the tomatoes to develop fully.
Also, some varieties won’t respond to this kind of treatment and will produce side shoots that take a long time to develop flowers and fruit.
Overall, it is best to remove side shoots from tall varieties unless you are experienced otherwise.