Here are the responses we received regarding the question of one or two leaders for tomatoes. It's always handy when the answers given are pretty consistent (two leader for grafted, one leader for all others). THANKS everyone - very useful information!

Carol and Dennis
Radical Roots Farm

we do one on ungrafted and 2 on grafted- skip paul in rhode island is the guy to talk to....

Michael Kilpatrick


we always prune them to two, partially because it provides a little more shade to the fruit.  we grow a lot of heirlooms, and too much sun makes them crack a lot.  however, ours are outside, not in a high tunnel, so that might not be an issue.  our cherries we grow in a hoop house and prune to two leaders, but we continue to aggressively sucker them.  that seems to work out the best, and you get a lot of fruit.  i'd be interested to hear what others think on this.


Peacework Farm


My understanding is 2 leaders is usually for grafted plants. That said I know a grower who prunes all his cherry tomato to 2 leaders (ungrafted) and they are incredible. I prune all of mine to one leader but I plant at one foot spacing.


Screamin’ Ridge Farm, Inc.



Last year we pruned to two leaders on the farm I apprenticed at in Middlebury.  I have started my own farm this year and was wondering what I should do.  I have my tomatoes on 18 inch spacing and wasn't sure if I could get away with two or if that would be too crowded.  If you could please pass on what responses you get back that would be most appreciated.

Take care and good luck with your season!




I did half with one and half with 2 last year.  I found the 2 leaders to be too much trouble clipping for not double the return.  I went back to single leaders this year with a little tighter spacing.  Plus it is easier to explain to the crew single leader when they pitch in and help.

I am really writing to ask if you could share the results with me.  I wrestle back and forth with 1 versus 2 every year. 

Many Thanks,

John Wells

Rimol Greenhouse Systems

New England & Mid South Sales Manager

Cell (603) 494-9426

Fax (603) 218-6000



The only real reason to create a two leader is for grafted Tomatoes... They actually need the biological load of two leaders to keep them in "vegetative Mode"..  Barring that it works if you have the space....but you will burn through your nutrients faster with a two leader system so at about five hands keep the compost and powdered fish at the ready.  

Skip Paul