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Blossom Drop

en Español

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Date:  July 1, 2021
Agent:  Donna Teasley

Hello, this is Donna Teasley, horticulture agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center.

Every summer I get calls about a plant condition called blossom drop. This occurs on vegetable plants like tomato, bean, pepper and others. The calls are always the same. The plant looks good but the flower dies and falls off and no fruits are forming. Blossom drop can be caused by excessive amounts of high nitrogen fertilizer but most often the reason is extreme temperatures. Plants are pretty picky about air temps when it come time to set fruit. When nights are hot-above 75 degrees or too cool below 55, fruit won’t set and blooms fall off. This is also a problem when day temperatures rise above 90. Prolonged windy conditions can also cause blossom drop.

When these temperature extremes occur, the pollen becomes tacky and pollination can’t occur. There are some things that will help like heavy mulching to keep moisture levels in the ground high. If a location has constant wind, establish a windbreak. There are hormone sprays available that help when the problem is low temperatures but fruits usually end up misshapen. The sprays don’t help with high temps. When the weather moderates, the problem corrects itself so it’s probably best to just wait it out.

This is Donna Teasley with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. If you would like more information about this program, you can call us at 764-9480.