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Cordon tomato plants

Look out for the side shoots, between the main stem and leaf.

The difference between a fruiting branch and side shoot is that the fruiting branch will not have a corresponding leaf coming off at the same place on the main stem.

Cordoning a tomato plant isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Basically, what you are trying to achieve when cordoning a plant, is one single main stem. This ensures the plant does not take over, and generally produces larger, stronger, tastier fruit, as the plant is only producing the tomatoes on the main stem. It also ensures that the plant can stay healthier longer, it allows the plant to breath, reducing the risk of mould and mildew, and reduces fungal infections by allowing air to circulate freely around the plant.
Look out for the side shoots as the plant is growing. The side shoots are the shoots that come out between the main stem and the leaves (see the photo). When they get to about 5 inches, you can simply rub them off the stem. Make sure you don’t pull off the fruit bearing branches, they look quite different.)
The main difference being that they do not have a corresponding leaf coming out of the main stem.(see this photo).
The tomato will continue to try to send out side shoots, so it’s important to keep on top of this job throughout the life of the tomato plant.

If you don’t like the idea of throwing out those stems that you are taking off the main plant, and it’s still early enough in the year (usually from February to May), stick them in a pot of seed compost, they tend to root very easily, and you can have a new tomato plant producing more tomatoes in a couple of months.

Originally posted 2017-06-13 17:40:01.