Tomatoes Flowers but no fruit?

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by BeeTee, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. BeeTee

    BeeTee Member Premium Member

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    Hi All, hope you're all well. I have a query re my tomatoes, that is, why are there lots of flowers but very little fruit? I understand toms are self pollinating, but mine are very inconsistent. I think three flowers have pollinated while the rest seem to have just dropped off. I'll post a couple of photos (excuse the quality). I've tried the 'gentle shaking' of the plant but there is still very little fruit. Any ideas?

    TIA.

    All the best,

    Brian.

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  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi there Brian and welcome.
    Re your underperforming tomatoes, there can be several reasons for that.
    Lack of consistent water is a big one and with many of us in major drought, we just have to put up with this until we each get good rain.

    Next is that I see you have exclusion netting which can sometimes reduce the air flow past the bushes or vines. Tomatoes pollinate by wafting pollen down from more recent flowers above. Or if the vines are laying on the ground it can take a good breeze to blow pollen sideways to mature and receptive flowers. If covered by netting, sometimes there isn't enough air movement.

    Next is the possibility that the pollen gets set by fog, rain or overhead watering so on the morning that the more recent flowers should be releasing their pollen it has been set by the moisture. Sometimes it dries out in time during the morning, but otherwise the receptive flowers below will fail to pollinate.

    Lastly, if the flowers pollinate but the fruit falls off there is trace element deficiency to think about, namely potassium or major mineral, calcium.
    Lack of water can also be a culprit at this point too. The stressed plant sheds fruit it can't sustain.

    Have a good look at the fallen fruit as soon as you see one. Is it slightly shriveled, have a black spot developing where the dead flower should still be attached, or is the stem and star withered all along the stem back to the truss?

    From your photos, I can see the plants seem to have enough water and no descernable mineral or trace element deficiency.
    So it could be a pollination issue. You can use an old electric toothbrush to vibrate the vines to release pollen. Just hold the running brush against the stems of the new flowers. You'll soon learn which flowers are ready to release pollen.
    One thing that does stand out is how long the flower stems are so I'm wondering if there is enough light.
    If you prune many of the leaves off, the remaining leaves must harvest more light to sustain the plant. If the light is filtered or the plant is in shade most of the day, there may not be enough leaves to provide energy for photosynthesis.
    One reason this can happen is while the plant is growing, all seems good. Then fruit arrive along with the critters, so we net the plant which not only excludes the critters but also as much as 25% of the available light. So if the plant is already growing in a low light position, the addition of the net can be the tipping point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
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