Hot Temperatures Can Mean Fewer Tomatoes

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As summer progresses gardeners start to think about harvesting fresh tomatoes from the garden. In the south, it can be considered one of the highlights of the year. There are numerous neighborhood races, not for the biggest tomato, but for the earliest tomato! It’s a matter of pride-who does the best job at judging the perfect time to put in those first tomato plants while at the same time, dodging late frosts.

Once the danger of frost has passed, we patiently wait for the first big, ripe, juicy tomato. But there might be a glitch in the plans when the temperatures become extremely hot. Extreme temperatures can put a halt to tomato pollination.

Tomatoes are self-pollinating plants. This means that each flower has both male and female parts so that while insects can help things along, they aren’t absolutely necessary. Pollen falls within the flower itself to provide pollination. When temperatures reach 85-90 degrees during the day and remain above 75 degrees at night, along with high humidity, pollen can become too sticky to fall. Extreme temperatures can also make pollen unviable. Blooms will fall to the ground without forming fruit.

What can you do about it? Well, nothing! Keep your plants well hydrated and when Mother Nature sees fit to give some relief from the heat, things will crank back up again. When the weather regulates, so will the tomato crop.

tomato plant with blooms turning brown

Unpollinated Tomato Blooms