May 23 2013 11:30pm To pinch or not to pinch? That's the most frequently asked question at Tomatomania. Side branching grows from the stem just above the point where it meets a leaf. Early in the season it's easy to identify. After a few weeks it's often hard to tell what's what. Your strategy can determine whether or not you remove this growth. Growing in a coastal or temperate area? PInch. Hot where you grow? Don't pinch aggressively. You need the cover. Growing Determinate plants? Pinch minimally, if at all. Want the largest fruit possible? Pinch. Want the MOST fruit possible? Don't pinch. These branches do fruit and flower. More branching = more fruit. Do you have to pinch to ensure a great season? Absolutely not.