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Old August 22, 2017   #1
Nan_PA_6b
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Default Why Not Just Use the Anthers?

In all the instructions on how to cross-pollinate, one is instructed to shake or scrape the pollen off the anther to collect it, and take the pollen to the female.

Why not just take the anther to the female and rub the anther on it? Surely this gets the maximum pollen where you need it? Is there a drawback?

Nan
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Old August 22, 2017   #2
Brent M
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Sorry, just joining in. Why not emasculate 1 flower, use toothbrush to vibrate pollen from another flower onto dark lens, then back to the emasculated to rub the pollen on the stigma? Has worked very well for me every time.
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Old August 23, 2017   #3
Nan_PA_6b
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Is there anything wrong with just taking the whole anther to the female? It just seems removing the pollen from the anther gives you more intermediate steps for things to go wrong.

I've been using pollen still on the anther to try to cross pollinate. What is the advantage to removing the pollen from the anther?

TIA,
Nan
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Old August 23, 2017   #4
Brent M
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Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
Is there anything wrong with just taking the whole anther to the female? It just seems removing the pollen from the anther gives you more intermediate steps for things to go wrong.

I've been using pollen still on the anther to try to cross pollinate. What is the advantage to removing the pollen from the anther?

TIA,
Nan
Pollen has to come out of the anther at some point. Removing the flower is another step. Dropping pollen is a great sign that the pollen is viable/ready and you get to keep the donor tomato. Taking the anther and drying it out under a lamp could help release the pollen if it's humid and it's not dropping. Should open and release easily enough once dry. Anyway, I've only been breeding for a few years so if there's another reason for removing the anther, I'd love to hear it. Always learning here.
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Old August 23, 2017   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
In all the instructions on how to cross-pollinate, one is instructed to shake or scrape the pollen off the anther to collect it, and take the pollen to the female.

Why not just take the anther to the female and rub the anther on it? Surely this gets the maximum pollen where you need it? Is there a drawback?

Nan
The anthers don't always open so the pollen isn't released. If you look closely at an tomato anther it looks vaguely like a plastic coin purse -- the two sides are rolled over the inner surface of the anther (where the pollen is).

(Other species of plants do fully expose the surface of the anther and your method then would work fine.)
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Old August 23, 2017   #6
crmauch
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Originally Posted by Brent M View Post
Sorry, just joining in. Why not emasculate 1 flower, use toothbrush to vibrate pollen from another flower onto dark lens, then back to the emasculated to rub the pollen on the stigma? Has worked very well for me every time.

Well when vibrating works, it can work really well, but when I started doing crosses, I had the problem that the variety I wanted as pollen donor often wouldn't give any pollen (multiple flowers). I don't know whether it was time of year, weather, or what. So I've gone another way and am generally happy with it.

My method: http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=37724
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Old August 23, 2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
Is there anything wrong with just taking the whole anther to the female? It just seems removing the pollen from the anther gives you more intermediate steps for things to go wrong.

I've been using pollen still on the anther to try to cross pollinate. What is the advantage to removing the pollen from the anther?

TIA,
Nan
Nan, if it works for you, then it's fine nothing wrong with it.
Personally I find the emasculated flowers to be somewhat delicate. Just dragging the pistil through pollen I collected is a challenge and sometimes they get loose and the cross fails. So for me, trying to transfer pollen from a whole anther would be even more challenging.

It's interesting that pollen collection can be such an issue. It seems in my greenhouse the optimal time for pollen is between 11 am and 4 pm, and it can be difficult if the weather is humid too.
Also a flower may look mature to me but doesn't release any pollen. Another one slightly more mature gives lots of pollen. It's not that easy to judge. So if I was trying to lay an anther on an emasculated flower, I would have a hard time to know if it was even ready to release pollen unless I had already tapped it to collect pollen...

One thing that Tom Wagner recommended was to collect pollen from several flowers at one time, so you also have pollen at various stages of maturity.

So I think the usual practices are built on experience and are intended to maximize your chance of success.
But that doesn't mean that you can't have a successful cross using another method. It may just be more difficult and more failures along the way. JMO.
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Old August 24, 2017   #8
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Actually, I'm not having success using the whole anther. I've been trying all summer to get a successful cross. Gotta start collecting pollen...

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Old August 24, 2017   #9
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Actually, I'm not having success using the whole anther. I've been trying all summer to get a successful cross. Gotta start collecting pollen...

Nan
Nan,

Even using my 'method' my results aren't always what I'd like. This year (and I did these late, so I may still get nothing), I did 5 crosses -- 3 on White Queen and 2 on Ozark Orange. These were mainly 'fun' crosses. I pollinated the White Queen blossoms 3 times over 3 days and the Ozark Orange over 2. Only 1 cross 'took' (one of the White Queens). Other years and times, I've had much better success rates (never 100%).

BTW, one reason I store the tomato pollen in the fridge is that it extends the life of the pollen. Not all pollen can survive very long, but the nightshade family generally has durable pollen. In theory it should be viable the whole tomato season.

Good luck on your future crosses.
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