SUMOylation is an essential post-translational modification that affects several cellular processes, from gene replication to stress response. Studies using the SUMO (de)conjugation machinery have provided evidence regarding its potential to improve crop performance and productivity under normal and adverse conditions. However, the pleiotropic effect of SUMOylation can be a disadvantage in both situations, especially when considering unpredictable environmental conditions caused by climate changes. Here, we discuss the pleiotropic effects caused by disrupting the SUMOylation machinery, and new strategies that may help to overcome pleiotropy. We propose exploring the several regulatory levels of SUMOylation recently revealed, including transcriptional, post-transcriptional regulation by alternative splicing, and post-translational modifications. These new findings may provide valuable tools to increase crop productivity.