Cool front coming...now what?

shankins123(7aOKC)July 4, 2011

Ok, Dawn...the weatherman says that there's a fairly good chance a cool front will make its way through the state Wed. afternoon/evening....bringing temps from about 102 on Wed. down to 95-6 on Thursday (with lows at around 71 for OKC on Thursday morning). Is this enough of a change to affect tomato blossoming/setting? If it is, could you please run through when to apply Bloom Booster in this sort of situation?

Thank you!

Sharon

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Yes, Sharon, it should be cool enough, especially on Thursday morning. Feed your plants ASAP with a bloom booster fertilizer to enhance your chance of having blooms on your heat-sensitive plants on Thursday. It probably would have been better to have fed them around last Saturday, but if you feed them today, they might be pushing out some blooms on Thursday

If your plants regularly are producing blooms but then they fail to fertilize, you might not need the bloom booster. Still, using a little is extra insurance.

Although each variety is a little different in its 'blossom drop' response to high temperatures, the usual threshold that's considered "too hot" is usually highs from 92 and higher (in my garden it seems some blossoms fertilize at temps as high as 95) and lows at or above 72 thru 75.

My favorite bloom booster is Super Bloom, but the Miracle Grow Bloom Booster works well too.

I fed my plants with Super Bloom a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of a cool front with a little rain. Although most all the rain missed us, we had the cool temps and I got a little bit of new fruit set on some tomatoes, a lot on various peppers and some on beans. My tomatoes and peppers are still blooming, but I harvested the last of the beans and yanked out the plants on Saturday and Sunday. Even though they had bloomed and some beans had formed, thorough pollination was not occurring and I was getting long bean pods with one bean and then the rest of the pod was empty. I've never seen that happen before, and am sure it is a heat-related pollination issue.

And, if you have very low humidity, you can get fruit set at temps even over 100 during the day and 80 during the nights, but it is more iffy. It happened for me in 2003 and 2005 during Extreme and Exceptional drought when our humidity routinely dropped into the teens and even the single digits.

Good luck,

Dawn

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 10:11AM
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adellabedella_usa

Have you ever heard of spraying the blossoms with baking soda and water to get them to set? My neighbor told me his parents used to do that. If I can find a spray bottle, I might try it.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 11:09AM
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shankins123(7aOKC)

All righty, then - I'll give it a shot.
Thanks, Dawn!

Sharon

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 12:53PM
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MiaOKC

I'm afraid to spray bloom booster while it's so hot right now, but will do it tonight after work and hope it gets some of the full-sized tomatoes to flower!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 1:38PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Adellabedella, I've never heard of it and can think of no reason it would work, other than maybe the spray of water temporarily cools the blooms down. Of course, misting the blooms with water with no baking soda would cool them down just as much. Blossom drop on tomatoes is a function of either temps that are too cold in late winter/early spring or that are too hot in late spring/summer. Baking soda is a natural fungicide, but it cannot offset the effects of the temperatures.

Sharon, You're welcome and good luck. I hope you get some fruitset.

Mia, If you're applying the liquid fertilizer to the root zone, it doesn't hurt them at all if you're doing it during the day in bright sunlight. If you are foliar feeding, it might hurt the foliage a little since the combination of rays of sunlight shining through droplets on leaves can act like sunlight coming through a magnifying glass. In this heat, though, my plants are so miserable that sometimes I go out at mid-afternoon, generally on any day where it is hotter than 100 degrees, and mist the foliage lightly with water....not that I can tell it is helping them, but it also doesn't seem to be hurting them. It is a very fine mist...I have one of those adjustable nozzles where you can adjust the nozzle to put out everything from a gentle mist to a strong, sharp, pressurized stream.

We have all kinds of tomatoes on our plants and a few small ones that likely set last week or the week before, but most of the time the blossoms are dropping without setting fruit. If the weather doesn't give us a break, my large-fruited varieties will be 'done' by the end of July. I can't say that I blame the plants. We've been 100 or higher every day this month, and before that for 9 days in June. I don't want to be outside in that heat, and I can imagine the tomato plants don't like the heat any more than I do!

Dawn

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 3:03PM
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redding

Jeanie, I have blossom all over my tomato plants, but very little fruit setting. They are doing the same thing as yours, Dawn. I don't know if hitting the plants with a feeding of Bloom will help or not, but I have nothing to lose. Of course, if it works on all of them, I'll be giving away loads of tomatoes to anyone who will have them!

My beans are doing the same thing as yours. I have Roma II bush beans and have kept them going by using a shade cloth over them for mid-day protection, but I'm getting a lot of pods that only have one bean and the rest is empty. The plants still seem to be healthy enough, so I'll just have to wait and see what they decide to do. I've never seen either the beans or the tomatoes do this, even in hot climates, but this is a crazy year. I've never seen cucumbers shrivel up either, but my big plants are certainly doing it. Maybe the ones I started later will have a better chance of survival.
Even my pepper plants have been found wilting in the heat, and I've never seen them do that. Not even in the 110+ Sacramento Valley heat. Good grief.

Our temp here (between Shawnee and Norman) is actually supposed to drop to about 94 on Thursday, before it shoots up to 100 again. The nights seem to be staying in the mid to high 70s.

Dawn, you mentioned misting your plants. I'm not misting mine, but a couple of evenings when the worst of the heat is gone, I've gone out and sprayed down the leaves of some of the young trees that are scorching in the heat. It's kind of an imitation rain, but it does seem to help them quite a bit. It seems that, when they can take up some water that way, it even works better than trying to water them around the base. I've been doing both, but the overhead water seems to have the best immediate result. The paulownia was looking really sad until I did that for it.

Pat

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 3:29PM
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TairaKL

Fellow OKC metro folks:

Did you guys see that forecasted low Thursday night into Friday morning (on KFOR 7 day)? 69 degrees. Thats what I'm talking about! I'll be up at 5am on Friday just to bask in it (and shake my tomato plants like crazy).

Taira

Taira

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 8:24PM
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MiaOKC

Wow! I fed bloom booster last nite on peppers and toms, and saw this morning on KFOR 7 day that they bumped the lows to 73 and 74 all week, so hopefully we'll start seeing some more blooms. I think the different forecasters each make up their own 7 day, so morning guy must be more conservative than evening guy (or maybe he's not a gardener, so doesn't know that hope springs eternal.)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 8:47AM
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elkwc(6b)

I use bloom maker/root stimulator several times a summer. I usually apply it at transplant and usually a couple of times afterwards to help develop a good root system. Then I apply it when I feel the plants are ready and 7-10 days before a cool front for blooms. That is hard to predict in this area. So I miss some and hit a few. I like the Fertilome product which is 10-59-10. It has worked well for me. I use a few others also. I hadn't applied anything in a few weeks. I did spray a few plants that needed a boost with the Bonnies organic liquid soybean mix 10 days ago. Some of the weather men are predicting the possibility of another cool front around the 15th. So I sprayed everything tonight including the peppers. I used the MG tonight. It is 15-30-15. I felt I needed a little boost on some of the later plants I set out. The MG is a little higher in N which should give that boost. I really watch how much N I use on tomatoes and peppers. Fortunately all of my plants are still looking good. Besides the hailed out plants I have yanked 2 plants. One had a split stem. The other I thought might have a disease but couldn't figure out what. When I pulled it I found out I had let the roots get a little dry and several roots had died. It was rerooting though. So I prepared a container and stuck it in there. I mainly want to see if I can reroot it and get it too grow and set fruit. The color is improving everyday now. The low humidity has helped with fruit set this year. And then most of our mornings have been in the 60's. Some in the low to mid 60's. I feel this has been another factor in plants setting fruit even with the high temps during the day. Some plants are curling but most look great. Jay

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:08PM
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