After a welcome stretch of ninety degree days, my garden is a happy mess of greens and just-ripening tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers. When I went out this morning to water and weed, I noticed several of my tomato plants were in need of a good sucker-plucking.

If you’ve grown tomatoes, you probably know that suckers are the small shoots that grow out of the joint where a branch meets the stem, like this little guy in the center…

So Long, Suckers

If a sucker is left to grow, the shoot will become a full-sized branch that will take nutrients away from the main plant and cause the upper plant to be leggier and heavier.

By removing the suckers, the main plant remains more compact, receives more sunlight, water, and nutrients, and produces bigger and better fruits.

When the suckers are small, they can easily be plucked off with the thumb and forefinger.

So Long, Suckers


(I know, garden gloves exist — but I want to play in the dirt more than I want nice nails!)

When the sucker is larger in diameter, it should be cut off with garden shears, and there’s a risk of the stem becoming damaged during removal, or of disease entering in through the wound.

As I pruned my plants this morning, I thought about the suckers in my life – the things that steal my nutrients and sunlight. They are barely noticeable early on, but if I ignore them, they get big FAST. And when they get big, they’re harder to eliminate. They hurt more to eliminate. A bigger wound remains when they are gone.

I’ve pruned a lot of suckers over the years.

Perfectionism. Sucker.

Poor self-image. Sucker.

Comparison. Sucker.

These three suckers grew on me for years before I sawed them off (yoweee!)

Sometimes, suckers are people.

The one who always talks, but never listens. 

The one who tries to stir up trouble in others’ relationships. 

The one who wants us to return to destructive habits of the past. 

Sucker. Sucker. Sucker!

These suckers can be harder to get rid of, but if they’re ignored — if they’re left to grow, they FEED ON US!

They get big. Heavy. Eventually, they topple us over.

They’re not interested in helping us to produce the best fruit. They only want to take our energy, our attention, our resources and time.

The only way to bring forth a healthy and abundant crop is to say sayonara to habits and people that suck life from our plots, and replace them with patterns and influences that nourish and support.

Hello, fruits of our harvests…

So Long, Suckers

So long, suckers!

Stacy Harrison

Stacy Harrison lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with her husband, three sons and a Goldendoodle who wasn’t supposed to shed. When she’s isn’t moonlighting as a wrestling referee (Living Room Floor Federation), Stacy enjoys writing non-fiction, primarily to-do lists and grocery lists. Visit Stacy’s blog,