Pinch Flowers Off Tomato Transplants?

raymondo17(z9 Sacramento)March 26, 2014

I'm about to do my annual tomato planting. The plants are about 8" - 12" tall and some already have a few flowers on them. Should I pinch off the flowers when I plant them so more energy goes into establishing a healthy plant and rootball?

For those that might be interested, this year I'm planting:

� Sungold (3 plants)
� Green Zebra
� Early Girl
� Lemonboy

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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I think for a 12" tomato plant is too soon to have a flower/fruit. Probably the plants will abort them.

This post was edited by seysonn on Tue, Jun 3, 14 at 1:22

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 10:48PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I used to take all buds and blossoms off of all transplants, and for the reason you mentioned above.

That is, you want to keep the new transplants in the vegetative stage so they form a good root system as well as a healthy plant, so don't want energy going into the sexual stage of blossom formation, fruit set and maturation of fruits.

That being said, there are those who have set out at least two plants of the same variety, taken all the blossoms off one, and not the other and some find it makes no difference and others find a significant difference, the plants with blossoms removed doing much better,

Carolyn, who if she were still able to grow her own plants would definitely take off the blossoms,

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 9:41AM
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raymondo17(z9 Sacramento)

Thanks for the input here folks. I'll go ahead and pinch away.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:22PM
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Bearybee(Zone 8 SW Georgia)

I am growing Cherokee Purple tomatoes out of 15 gallons containers. My question is similar. I planted them two weeks ago and they have doubled in size (both stalk thinkness and height) almost since transplant. (approx 14") Today, I see signs of flowers on two plants and wonder if I should pinch them off to allow the tomato plant to grow taller. I have 6' cages around them. I planted with organic tomato fertilizer spikes. After a month and a half, I plan to start using fish emulsion every couple weeks. Because of the fact that I am going to be fertilizing, should I not worry about pinching flowers because of the fact that there will be enough nutrient in the soil to support foliage and fruit growth? Sorry if this question went in circles before I got to the point. Thank you all!!!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 7:41PM
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Bearybee(Zone 8 SW Georgia)

Here's another image.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 7:42PM
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Hi there,
I'm no expert, but after two weeks, I would leave the flower buds on. When planting initially, they should be removed, but after two weeks, I would leave them on. However, I leave that opinion to those who know better, in which case I would definitely listen to their advice!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 6:40PM
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Bearybee(Zone 8 SW Georgia)

Thanks, Sharonie. I ended up leaving them on. I have so many baby tomatoes now.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 10:31AM
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Just wondering how do you plan on harvesting the tomatoes through the 2x4" mesh?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 5:46AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I have several cages made with 2x4 welded wire mesh. You just take some wire cutters and cut several random, scattered 4x4 or 4x6" holes in the cage. Works fine.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 10:00AM
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jonathanpassey(Utah z5)

This year i have two each of 8 varieties. I picked the flowers off half of them. so far there is no noticeable difference in plant growth (both are thriving) and a few of those original flowers set fruit and are sizing up nicely. Others seem to have aborted. Since it doesn't seem to have affected their initial growth I will probably leave the flowers on in coming years, but I may do the same thing next year as a second test.

The varieties I planted are below. All had flowers or buds when I transplanted them on May 3rd.

Cherry Roma (seemed to abort many of the early flowers, but there are a few tiny fruit).
Park's Whopper (seemed to get fruit from all (most?) early flowers and is sizing up nicely),
Black Krim (some fruit)
German Pink (No fruit yet)
Marianna's Peace (no fruit yet)
Kosovo (some fruit and sizing up very nicely. this one might be my surprise winner for early toms)
Opalka (no fruit yet)
Italian Heirloom (most flowers seem to have aborted but I have one tomato)

Those that I pinched the flowers off have no fruit but have lots of new flower/bud trusses (trusses?) so, even though the growth seems to be similar, perhaps they will set more fruit later in the season. But, I really haven't paid close attention to which ones have the most flowers. I suppose time will tell.


ps. i really appreciate all of the regular responders on this forum. I have learned so much. thanks.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 5:06PM
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