Waiting for the Tomato Harvest to Arrive

by Melinda Myers on June 6, 2016 in Lifestyle, Home,
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Are you checking your personal lone star landscape only to find no fruit on your tomato plants? Blame it on the weather. Tomatoes thrive in warm sunny conditions, but temperature extremes can prevent otherwise healthy plants from setting fruit.

Heatmaster tomatoes are a good choice for areas where temperatures frequently linger above 95 degrees. Photo by Mark Avery
Heatmaster tomatoes are a good choice for areas where temperatures frequently linger above 95 degrees. Photo by Mark Avery

When daytime temperatures rise above 90 degrees and night temperatures remain above 70 degrees, both blossom drop and poor fruit development can occur. When low temperatures are combined with low humidity, the pollen is not viable. In hot and humid conditions, the pollen is too sticky and doesn’t move from the male to the female part of the flower. Without pollination, the flowers won’t be fertilized and fruit will not develop. The simplest solution is to wait for cooler temperatures and the proper humidity levels to return. Once this happens, the plants will begin producing fruit again.

When hot weather does arrive, be sure the plants receive ample moisture. Mulch the soil with shredded leaves, pine straw, or other organic matter to keep roots cool and moist. Consider providing a bit of cool afternoon shade during hot spells.

The long-term solution is to select tomatoes suited to the growing conditions of your region. There is a wide variety of tomatoes and each one has preferred growing conditions.

Some of the varieties best suited for extreme heat in summer include Summer Set, Heatmaster, and Solar Fire. Summer Set produces large globe shaped fruit even during the hottest part of summer. Heatmaster is a good choice for areas where temperatures frequently linger above 95; the oblong fruit are ripe in about 75 days after planting. Watch for Solar Fire tomatoes a bit later in the season as the temperatures start to rise. This tomato performs well in the summer heat, producing an abundant crop of medium-sized red tomatoes. With proper selection and care, you can enjoy an abundant harvest in spite of less than ideal weather.

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