By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A listener wrote last week to ask about pruning tomatoes. The first thing to know is, you don’t have to do it, it’s up to you. Secondly, you probably only want to prune vining varieties; those are the kinds of tomatoes that keep growing more vines and making tomatoes for weeks and weeks through the summer.

You don’t really ever need to prune the other more compact kinds, often called ‘bush’ tomatoes’ like the popular ‘Patio’ variety pictured here, which make and ripen all of their fruit at once. If you prune these so-called ‘determinate tomatoes’ you could end up cutting off a lot of fruit so it’s not worth trying.

If you do decide to prune your vining tomatoes, just pinch or cut out the extra leafy suckers growing in the corners of the major vines that are full of flowers and fruit. Clearing out that excess growth gives the plant more sunlight and better air circulation, which can help deter diseases.

You can find lots of links online to show you how to prune tomatoes. Or like me, you can just forget about it and let your tomatoes grow as they please.