by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law
Each bloom of the tomato plant contains both the male (anther and filament) and female (stigma, style and ovary) parts of the flower. That means that tomatoes are largely self pollinating. The action of the wind is usually sufficient to pollinate the plants.
However, blooms will set (produce fruit) only under a narrow temperature band in Houston. For most tomatoes (other than cherry tomatoes) we are looking for nighttime temperatures in the 60s in order for the blooms to set. To be specific, the blooms will drop if daytime temperatures are below 55 degrees and blooms will not set if night temperatures exceed 75 or day temperatures exceed 92. This narrow temperature range is why we try to plant our tomatoes as early as possible. The goal is to have the plants at the bloom stage before temperatures are too hot.
High nitrogen fertilizers also tend to reduce bloom set. Remember, we are growing tomatoes, not leaves. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers.
Last revised March 8, 1998
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