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Tomatoes ....... suckers

I have never really known what a sucker is. I know they don't grow fruit just more plant matter . Does anyone have photos that show them ?
 
I put some blue tape on a branch in this photo. Is that part a sucker ?
 
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Also in this photo I have some spots on some leaves. Is this something to worry about ? I'm thinking they be where some hail hit them.
 
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Peace & Thanks
 
The thing with blue tape on it in your picture is not a sucker, it's a leaf.  The suckers come out near the main stem where leafs are attached to the stem.  All a sucker is on a tomato plant is a new branch forming.  Some people say you need to remove them to increase the main stems growth and size of tomatoes.  Others say leave them alone because they usually turn into fruit bearing branches and increase yield.  I don't know which is correct but I usually leave mine alone.
 
suckers will not, nor ever produce tomatoes on a plant, they will flower but that is why they are called "suckers" because only a sucker would get fooled into leaving them be. you can remove a sucker and plant it and it may root and become a successful fruit baring plant, just not whilst attach to the original main plant.
 
now, before all the tomatoist start jumping up and down about how wrong i am on suckers, there is a technique to get suckers to fruit while still attached to the main stem, but you have to let the plant grow horizontally, not vertically. as the plant grows and snakes along the grow, you have to bury the sucker portion in soil, if it takes and starts rooting then it will fruit. it is just as easy to pinch the sucker! but if you have lots of time and want to experiment, go for it.
 
i never remove suckers from a determinate tomato plants like tiny tims or patio style tomatoes. i have found many determinate styles can produce small fruit but so far i have only found this on determinate types.
 
i'll post my glog in a few weeks and it will include my tomato garden as well...good growing.
 
i like watching this guy's videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s9mZfLaOjQ
 

cone9

Extreme Member
I sucker my plants to help control growth.  Suckers will bear fruit but I believe you will get larger fruit if you remove them.  Growth, especially with indeterminate plants, can get way out of control if you don't remove suckers(at least to some extent) as suckers will get suckers which will get suckers which will get...well, you get the idea!
 
so, now you know where the debate goes on suckering, in my 40 years of growing tomatoes, to date, i have never had a sucker produce a tomato.
 
that is why this is a great debate. perhaps in zones where tomatoes produce by june, this is true. northern growers won't get fruit until mid august.
 
again, good growing on what ever you choose.
 
I trim suckers only if I have plenty of main branches with good flower growth. I try to get them when they are little.  My growth right now is decent enough where I'm not worried about numbers for production.  I'll also trim main branches lower down, especially if they are yellowing.  I don't really have a discernible method for that, it's like bonsai, whatever I think looks right and won't do harm or lessen production.  If I didn't selectively prune my Juliets they would grow completely out of control.  Even with the pruning I do they grow wild.
 
My indeterminate tomatoes are covered in tomatoes on the suckers. The only reason to prune them IMO is because they make great clones. I cut 9 of them & 8 of them have rooted and will be transplanted to 1 gallon pots this weekend. Giving lots of copies of my strongest tomato plant to some friends & planting a few more for myself :D.
 
I decided to try suckering some of my green zebra's and leaving the rest alone to see what the difference is.  So far the ones left alone have grown taller and have as much or possibly a bit more fruit on them.  Until I harvest and weigh them though I won't actually know.  So I doubt I'll be suckering plants next year, or I'll expand the experiment and sucker half, leaving the rest, then compare the results at the end of the year.  I'll try to remember to snap some shots today to post.
 
I pinch suckers EXCEPT the bottom two so I have parallel shoots going up the stake.  Have to pick off the rest because there's no possible way I could manage the size of the plants nor their shape otherwise.  As it is I already feel like I go through miles of twine every year and have no desire for larger plants because I'd need a ladder and 8' tall stakes... then high wind would just come along and damage them.
 
I experimented with suckers on my cherry tomato plants this year. Two plants I let grow out a sucker on each side so each plant needed three stakes. It ended up taking the same amount of room 3 plants would have taken if spaced the same. The problem with suckers is that they are basically a extra plant leaching off the root system. Your tomatoes won't get as big and take longer to get to size. You are better off pinching each sucker off if you don't mind the upkeep and just plant more plants if you are looking for yield.
 
Suckers will definitely flower and fruit attached to the plant. Like Sm1nts2escape said above, they are called suckers because they suck life from the mother plant. Not because a sucker leaves them be. If your plant is in the ground with a sufficient root system suckers won't harm anything and will basically just turn your one plant into multiple. If you're in a pot or using a less than ideal growing location trim them off so your mother plant flourishes. You could also let the plant sprawl across the ground and the suckers will root on their own
 
If you want more yield and have enough container space, you can wait for two (or 3) suckers to come out then top off the plant. As soon as the top is cut off, both suckers will grow like twins and bear fruit like a normal tomato plants.
 
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