Tomatoes are the most popular produce in home gardens, and they are still a major commercial production in the state. Many tomato producers are concerned when the blossoms on their plants dry up and fall off without producing any fruit during the hot summer months. If you are wonder what is tomato plant blossom drop read on to find out more!
Blossom drop occurs when flower stems become yellow and the blossoms dry up and fall off the plant. The major cause of this in tomatoes is the temperature that is either too cold or too hot.
The yellowing of the pedicel is generally the first sign. Both the stamens and the pistils are found in the same tomato flower. The yellow stamens around the greenish pistil in the flower’s center. Pollen from the stamens is transferred to the sticky stigma or tip of the pistil under ideal circumstances. A violent breeze, a flick of the finger, or insects like bumblebees and other native bees are required for this transmission.
What Types of Tomatoes are Susceptible to Blossom Drop?
Home garden types that are older or heirloom are much more vulnerable to high temperatures than many of the newer hybrids currently available. Plants grow robust and dark green when fruit does not set and all other conditions are favorable (enough water, fertilizer, insect management, and proper pH). However, even newer hybrids are subject to bloom drop.
Does Blossom Drop Affects Tomatoes Commercially?
Commercial producers in the southeastern United States had been dealing with this issue for a long time, until the recent introduction of “hot set” tomato cultivars. These cultivars are developed to withstand the high day and night temperatures that are frequent in the summer and early fall.
Several of these types bear fruit in adverse growth conditions, such as prolonged periods of chilly, wet weather or prolonged periods of scorching heat.
Some Other Causes of Blossom Drop
Following are some other main reasons of blossom drop in tomatoes:
- Lack of Pollination
Tomatoes need assistance in pollination. Pollen must be carried from the anthers to the stigma by insects, wind, or manual shaking of the flowers. Insect pollinators are frequently absent during harsh weather conditions.
- Inadequate Watering
Tomatoes have incredibly deep roots that can grow up to 5 feet deep. The plants can go stressed and weakened if they are watered poorly. To create a broad, healthy root system, the root zone should be consistently wet throughout the growing season.
- Too Many Fruits
When a tomato plant produces too many flowers, the accompanying fruits compete for the crop’s limited nutrient supply. Some blossoms will be naturally aborted by the plant. The issue should go away once the initial crop is harvested.
- Nitrogen Levels
Blossom drop can be caused by high or low N fertilizer application rates. Nitrogen fertilizer at high rates promotes luxuriant vegetative growth while inhibiting flower formation and/or pollination, resulting in poor fruit sets. Low nitrogen levels result in spindly vines with low food stores that are unable to maintain a crop.
- Pests and Diseases
Pests and diseases are a major source of stress for plants. For tomatoes, there are a few types of diseases to look for. From aphids and snails to early blight and more severe illnesses like verticillium wilt, there’s something for everyone. When your tomatoes are fighting fungal or aphids, they will discard their flowers in an effort to stay alive.
How to Control Tomato Blossom Drop?
Although nothing can guarantee fruit set, the following tips can help you prevent plant blossom drop and cultivate healthy fruits every time you grow tomatoes in your garden.
- Grow a Tomato Variety Suitable for Your Climate
Tomatoes should not be grown in the spring if you live in a colder area. Wait until the nighttime temperature is consistently above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or cover them at night. Setting them out too early will give you no benefit. In milder locations, you can use early-maturing tomato types for spring planting.
Some good varieties for colder reigon are:
- Oregon Spring
- Early Girl
- Silvery Fir Tree
For regions with long durations of hot or humid weather, using a heat-tolerant tomato variety is a good option. Because the tomato plant never gets to relax, high nighttime temperatures are far worse than high daytime temperatures.
In hot regions, the best tomato varieties include:
- Solar Set
- Provide the Right Humidity
The optimal humidity level is somewhere between 40% and 70%. Humidity that is either too high or too low interferes with pollen release as well as pollen’s capacity to cling to the stigma, preventing pollination. Hose the leaves during the day to chill the plant and boost the humidity if the humidity is too low. This is not suggested in high-humidity environments or in the presence of fungal illnesses.
If you live in a region where there is high humidity, pick a variety to grow that is not much effected by humidity such as:
- Yellow pear
- Eva purple ball
- Help Your Tomatoes in Pollination
Tomatoes require assistance in pollination. Pollen must be carried from the anthers to the stigma by insects, hand-shaking of the flowers, or wind. Insect pollinators are typically absent in the garden during weather extremes. Planting nectar-rich flowers in your food garden is one strategy to attract more bees.
- Provide Adequate Water
During dry weather, water your tomato plant deeply once a week: Tomatoes have long roots that can reach five feet into the earth. Plants will be stressed and weakened if they are watered seldom.
- Do Not Over-Fertilize
Excessive nitrogen fertilizer can promote excessive vegetative growth, which can lead to bloom drop or other floral development issues. Salt levels surrounding plants might rise if you apply too much fertilizer. High salt levels can induce blossom drop as well as other plant problems. Before you plant, do a soil test to see how much fertilizer your plant will need.
- Control Diseases and Pests
Prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to pests and diseases. The best strategy is to maintain appropriate garden hygiene. Remove any unhealthy or dead leaves. Encourage proper airflow by purchasing or making your own row coverings. Make sure you’re watering properly and keeping your garden equipment clean at all times.
Blossom drop is a typical tomato problem that may be quite distressing for home gardeners. Flower petals appear on healthy-looking tomato plants, but they dry up and fall off the plant before becoming a fruit. However, by taking the right steps at the right time, you can prevent plant blossom drop and enjoy healthy home-grown tomatoes at home.