How to properly shape tomato bushes in May

Tomatoes are one of the most commonly grown vegetables and an important part of many dishes. In order to get a bountiful harvest, it is important that the tomato bushes are properly formed. In this article, we will discuss when to shape tomato bushes, what tools to use and how to shape tomato bushes in six easy steps.

When to shape tomato bushes?

The best time to shape tomato bushes is in May, when the plants are strong enough to bear a decent shape but not too old to be affected by shaping. It is important to avoid shaping the tomato bushes too late in the year as this can disrupt the growing season and affect the harvest.

tools for shaping

As an experienced grower, I recommend shaping tomato bushes as soon as they reach a height of about 30 cm. By removing the lower leaves and shoots, you can improve tomato plant growth while increasing air circulation and light transmission.

To shape the tomato bushes, all you need is a pair of sharp secateurs or a knife. Carefully cut off the lower leaves and shoots without damaging the main stems or infructescence. It’s also important to regularly check if additional supports are needed to support the weight of the plants and their fruit.

Remember that good tomato plant shaping can help produce a higher yield of tasty and healthy tomatoes.

Step-by-step instructions for shaping

  1. Step: Preparation Make sure you have all the tools ready like sharp pruning shears, tying material and supports. Also select a suitable work area to shape the tomato bushes.
  2. Step: Removing Bottom Leaves Start by removing all the bottom leaves from the tomato bushes to ensure good air circulation. Be careful not to damage the upper leaves and main stems.
  3. Step: Prune side shoots Prune any side shoots growing from the bottom of the plant to ensure growth remains concentrated on the main stem. Also, remove shoots that grow at an acute angle from the main stem, as they can stunt the plant’s growth.
  4. Step: Securing the Main Stem Use tie wire or plant ties to secure the main stem of the tomato plant to keep it straight and stable. Tie the ribbon loosely around the trunk and attach to a sturdy stick.
  5. Step: Tying up side shoots Tie the side shoots to a sturdy stick or pole. Be careful not to tie the shoots too tightly to avoid damage.
  6. Step: Finishing work When the shaping is complete, inspect the plants and make sure that all the shoots are properly attached and that no leaves have been damaged. Also make sure the supports are strong enough to support the weight of the plants and their fruit.

Tips and Tricks

  • Removing tomatoes that grow on the ground: Tomatoes that grow on the ground can be more susceptible to diseases and pests. Also, the growth of the plant can be concentrated on these fruits, which can result in a lower yield. Therefore, remove any tomatoes that are lying on the ground to ensure that the plant focuses its energy on the main shoots and produces healthy fruit.
  • Ventilation and Humidity: Ventilation is important to prevent mold and mildew. Make sure the tomato plants have adequate space and that moisture isn’t pooling in the leaf axils, as this is an ideal spot for pests and diseases. Therefore, regularly remove dead leaves and other plant debris to ensure good ventilation.
  • Irrigation and Fertilization: Adequate irrigation and fertilization is important to grow healthy tomato plants. Water the plants regularly and deeply to ensure the roots receive enough moisture. Also, use a balanced fertilizer to ensure plants are getting all the nutrients they need.


As a seasoned grower with over 20 years of experience, I can attest that proper shaping of tomato bushes has a major impact on plant health and yield. Removing the lower leaves and pruning the side shoots allows the tomato bushes to be better aerated, reducing the risk of disease and pests. Also, tying down the plants and removing tomatoes that are growing on the ground will help the plants focus their energy on the main shoots and produce healthy fruit.

I recommend checking the tomato bushes regularly and using extra supports if needed to support the weight of the plants and their fruit. Adequate watering and fertilizing is also important to grow healthy tomato plants that will yield a bounty.

Overall, shaping tomato bushes is an important task for any gardener who wants to grow healthy and productive plants. By following the steps in this article and applying my tips and tricks, you will be able to harvest a bounty of tasty and healthy tomatoes.

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