More Tomato Troubles ~ Blossom Drop

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Blossom Drop in Tomatoes ~ Black Fox Homestead.com

Every  morning husbie and I make a point of walking through the garden to check things out and see how they are coming along.

It is one of my favorite rituals of the day and it helps us to stay on top of things such as pests and disease, and to make a weak attempt at staying on top of weeding (ha).

A few weeks ago I began to notice this on some of our tomato plants:

Note the dried blossoms and the yellow stems that are nearly broken.

Note the dried blossoms and the yellow stems that are nearly broken.

This unfortunate sight is referred to as blossom drop.  Have you seen it in your garden?

What is blossom drop?

Blossom drop is simply what it states: the blossoms of the tomato plant drop before they can produce fruit.  This condition isn’t restricted just to tomatoes, it can also be found in cucumbers and squash.

What causes it?

Blossom drop can be caused by one or a combination of situations including:

  • Unhealthy soil
  • Excessive wind
  • A series of temps over 90 degrees
  • Night temps that do not fall within the tomato friendly range of 55-70 degrees

These factors inhibit proper pollination of the flowers, the plant decides they aren’t needed after all, and decides to drop them.  Sometimes just the blossom itself,  and sometimes tiny branches.

Since we recently purchased top quality garden soil just for our tomatoes, in our case I’m sure it was the wind and the temperatures over 90.  June was a hot month for us.

How can blossom drop be prevented?

  • Make sure your tomatoes receive the proper amount of water and nutrition.  This can be tricky, because while nitrogen can help prevent blossom drop, too much of it can cause the growth of beautiful foliage, but few flowers.
  • Control the wind.
  • Control the heat.

I’m only partially joking about the latter two.  While one cannot hold back 30mph winds or create cooler temps, you can cover your plants with a bit of shade cloth (be careful it doesn’t rub against  your plants) and try overhead watering in the morning (the plants need to dry before nightfall in order to further prevent disease) to help lower the warm temperatures.

Other suggestions would be to:

  • Try different varieties.  While all of my tomato plants have lost a few blossoms to  a certain extent, I’ve noticed that our heirloom cream sausage plants lose the most.  I’m guessing this is a fussy variety and just won’t acclimate to our tough climate.  We love them anyway and we’ll just take what we can get while they last.
  • Plant more tomatoes.  This will perhaps help compensate for the loss.

 

Blossom drop in tomatoes ~ Black Fox Homestead.com

What sort of issues are you facing with your tomatoes this year? 

Find this post and others like it linked to: Teach Me Tuesday, Tuesday Greens, Tuesdays with a Twist, The Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, The Homestead Barn Hop, Homemade Mondays

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Comments

More Tomato Troubles ~ Blossom Drop — 14 Comments

  1. Experience is a hard teacher, yes? I admire the way you see a challenge, dig in, and find out. I did a fair job of incorporating herbs and flowers within the garden but that presented it’s own issues. Sigh. This has been a good learning season for me.

    Thanks for sharing your work!

  2. I’ve noticed this in my zucchini of all things. Blossom falling or breaking of stem. I have a raised bed with good soil but an over abundance of rain!!! Don’t know about bees.

    • Your zucchini may yet be ok. Zucchini plants have male and female flowers. Once the male blossoms have bloomed, they will drop. This is normal and not something to be too terribly concerned about. The female flowers grow off the end of a miniature zucchini. If those drop, or if the zucchini starts to shrivel, then you do have problems.

  3. I am having this same problem. It has been well over 90 every day but cools to the low 70′s at night. Soil is not the problem, I have cultivated the very best soil. It is probably lack of bee’s this year. I haven’t seen but a few. Like you I didn’t plant enough bee attracting flowers this year, because we have always had plenty in the past. I wonder if I can manually pollinate my tomatoes? I have had to do this with my squash this year, but they are much easier to do. So sad because I really LOVE tomatoes. The plant is thriving, if I could just get the blossom to stay on.

    Hmmm

    • Follow up, since my comment last week I have added shade over my tomatoes and I have been hand pollinating.. I hace 4 baby tomatoes already and no more blossom drop! Thank you for the great article :-)

  4. Thanks for the info. It’s been such a wet season for us that our tomatoes are late in everything…We’ve been struggling with septoria leaf spot (fungal disease) with this humid wet weather. Oh well, there’s always next year! Thanks again for posting about this problem!

  5. We haven’t had that happen – although maybe it contributed to our squash problem 2 years ago. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Pingback: Tomatoes: Easy Steps to a Bountiful Summer Harvest — GNOWFGLINS