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Old 5 Days Ago   #1
SharonRossy
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Default Pinching/culling tomato blossoms?

Not sure if this has been discussed in any detail here at TV. I have decided to pinch off some of the small blossoms on my plants. In particular, I am doing it on the larger beefsteak varieties, as I want to make sure the stem doesn't get too heavy and break, which has been a problem in the past in spite of supporting the stems. Also, with this late summer we are having here, it seemed that it would help keep the energy focussed on the larger fruits.

Any thoughts on this?
Thanks, Sharon
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Old 5 Days Ago   #2
Worth1
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I only wish I had the tomatoes to pinch flowers.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #3
KarenO
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certainly you can do that Sharon as long as you are OK with reducing your overall yield the fruit that remain should be of good quality. I think this is an interesting question in contrast to other topics recently regarding using artificial means such as tuning forks etc to increase fruit set on plants. I think that in nature not every blossom a plant produces is meant to become a fruit. I think plants produce "extra" blloms in order to ensure seed production if a branch breaks or if conditions are not right etc. I think there is a limit to what a plant can support, especially support with good quality and size and so "helping" to pollinate every bloom may not be a good idea in the end but that is just my opinion.
Having such heavy fruit set that it breaks branches? some might say that is a good problem to have
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Old 5 Days Ago   #4
carolyn137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharonRossy View Post
Not sure if this has been discussed in any detail here at TV. I have decided to pinch off some of the small blossoms on my plants. In particular, I am doing it on the larger beefsteak varieties, as I want to make sure the stem doesn't get too heavy and break, which has been a problem in the past in spite of supporting the stems. Also, with this late summer we are having here, it seemed that it would help keep the energy focussed on the larger fruits.

Any thoughts on this?
Thanks, Sharon
Yes Sharon it has been discussed here before at Tville,many times.

Some do it when growing for fruit size alone for competitions, some do it for the reason you gave, and for me the same since my plants here at home were put out late for all sorts of reasons, some will make it before first killing frost,some , such as Toltuska (fatty woman),will not.

But I was delighted yesterday when looking out the window in my bathroom to see tiny fruits of Rubinka, seeds from Vladimir, very long flat trusses of excellent red cheries, so he says,and I trust what Vladimir says.

So I think it's really up to you what you want to do based on what a typical summer is for you and when on average your first killing frost arrives.

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Old 5 Days Ago   #5
oakley
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Is it best to wait until fruit set? Then culling if a truss is potentially heavy with fruit?
Just to make sure you are not pulling a good fruit over a dud. (?)

I've not had the problem with tomatoes in the past, but with my fruit trees, in a good
year, I have to cull from 5 to two or three in a cluster, especially Asian Pears. Not only
to get good size fruit but to avoid loosing a full branch. Happened a few years ago so
I researched and it is advised to cull. Especially the Asians.

This year they self-culled from a late frost but I still might get a decent harvest.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #6
Father'sDaughter
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Many of the ones I've grown will not set on every blossom any way, so I leave them and the unpolinated ones will eventually drop on their own.

If blossoms don't drop but just hang there doing nothing, once the other fruit on the truss are picked, I've had them suddenly start birthing a tomato.

The only blossoms I've purposely culled this year are the mega blooms. I've had too many plants over the years that set a mega bloom early and then seemed to stall all new fruit set until the monster was picked. Russian 117 was notorious for doing this and I would see very low production until later in the season. . This year I culled off two early mega blooms and I have about 15 medium sized fruit on it, and more setting every day.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #7
Ricky Shaw
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I'm doing it this year on all the beefsteaks. Already can see larger and better shaped fruit trimming to 4 or 5 toms per cluster. I'd think some varieties would be out of control if not done to some degree. The Mat-Su Express is one that comes to mind as being difficult to manage with 20+ blooms a truss.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #8
SharonRossy
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Thank you everyone! I have waited in the past to see what actually becomes a fruit and what just hangs there. I mean it's so tempting. But inevitably, should they all become tomatoes, some obviously larger than others, the weight causes the stem to bend or collapse. So this year, especially because it's been a rainy summer it just made sense to pinch off and take my chances. It's true some won't pollinate and fall off.
I'm growing Russian 117 for the first time and now I am going out to check the blossoms. It's true about the mega blossoms - this year a few of my plants seem to have them and then that's it. It didn't occur to me that they might slow things down.
Carolyn, I believe we both have similar frost dates or at least approximately. So at least for this year, I will continue to cull. Hard to believe we will have a long, late summer. But who knows?
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Old 4 Days Ago   #9
zipcode
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Often those small flowers at the end of the truss will pollinate really well to make a big tomato. What I would do is wait for them to set, and cull depending on pedicel girth (which is largely associated with how big the fruit will grow).
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Old 4 Days Ago   #10
gorbelly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenO View Post
I think there is a limit to what a plant can support, especially support with good quality and size and so "helping" to pollinate every bloom may not be a good idea in the end but that is just my opinion.
We should all have such problems in July. I would much rather have to cull small fruits than lack for fruit set.

I have yet to have problems with trusses breaking. Even on heavy setters like Big Beef. Occasionally, I've had trusses bend, i.e., "kink", but they go on as usual. I guess I've been fortunate in choosing my varieties. IIRC, nutrition has an influence on truss strength as well, as does whether or not you grow outdoors, but I can't off the top of my head remember which nutrient deficiency contributes to weak trusses. I think it was discussed on a thread here on tville last year, but I can't seem to find it.
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