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the removal of lateral shoots, or suckers, from plants. Suckers develop from the leaf axils of the main stem in tomato, tobacco, wild tobacco, sunflower, and cotton plants. They also develop from cabbage and carrot plants growing for seeds. Suckering intensifies the flow of nutrient matter to the generative organs of plants and to shoots that are retarded in development. It is used to accelerate maturation of fruits and seeds and to increase the marketability of a product.
Suckers are removed from tomatoes, tobacco, and wild tobacco when they are no more than 5–10 cm long; they are removed from corn, sorghum, and sunflowers when they are no longer than 10–15 cm. Suckering is used on open ground mainly in the north and, in some instances, in central and southern zones where there is abundant precipitation. Vegetative suckers and shoots with secondary blossoms are removed from seed-bearing cabbage; the flowering secondary and tertiary umbels of seed-bearing carrots (in northern regions of the nonchernozem zone) are thinned out.
Suckering, a laborious process, is effective only when done regularly and at the proper time. Soviet plant breeders have developed varieties of tomatoes and other crops that in nonchernozem regions branch only slightly and yield a good early harvest without suckering.
N. A. SOLOV’EVA