Over pruned tomato plants



I discovered that my tomato plants were overpruned by a family member. All leaves were cut off with the exception of a few suckers, leaves at the very top. Is there hope they will survive or should i replant everything now?


Dear Gardener, what a sad thing to have happened to your tomato plants.

But I think there is still hope.

At least not all the leaves were cut off, which would have been disastrous! Tomatoes are incredibly vigorous and hardy and the summer has just begun. My first suggestion is that since all the bottom leaves have been removed, that you repot, or rebury your tomato plants. Put them into deeper pots, or bury them deeply in the soil, so that the stem is buried up until you have leaves. Tomatoes can create new roots out of the fibrous hairs that grow on their stems. They are very heavy feeders and this kind of deep burial in soil is really good for them.

Some gardeners even do this on purpose. They willingly cut all the leaves off of their tomato plants up to the second node from the top, and then bury their tomato plants sideways. I would not recommend this, but since the leaves have been removed, you have a good solution with a reasonable expectation that your tomato plants will thrive.

Fine Gardening Magazine has a good article and some videos on tomatoes, including information on pruning.

Good luck with your tomato plants.

June 30, 2023