For a tomato plant to form a fruit, the stigma, or female part of a flower, must be fertilized by viable pollen. This will occur naturally with assistance from insects and wind, but you can help too ...
Cultivated tomato plants are self-fertile— they can fertilize flowers with their own pollen. When the flower opens, pollen falls from the anthers, or male parts of the flower, onto the stigma. If the atmosphere is too dry, pollen will not stick to the stigma; in very wet conditions, pollen is not released from the anthers.
The optimal temperature for pollination is 65-80°F (18.5-26.5°C). In very cold conditions, very little fruit will set, whereas very hot conditions kill the pollen. Since there are fewer insects to pollinate flowers under cover, you can help yourself. Wait until there are many trusses of ripe flowers and carry it out at noon, when pollen is most abundant.
POLLINATING TOMATO FLOWERS - play Cupid to guarantee a good crop
IThe female part of the tomato flower (stigma) lies in most plants within a cone of pollen-bearing (male) anthers (bottom left).
2 Gently shake the flower clusters. Tapping the plant's wire or cane supports will also encourage the pollen to be released.
Busy bees Insects, such as the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), play a vital role in pollination. As they collect nectar, they fly from plant to plant and distribute pollen. Many commercial units utilize this by installing colonies of bumblebees in cardboard hives among the tomato crops.
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