Tomato: extra pollination effort for warmer days

When the first warm days of the season arrive, the blooming period of tomato flowers suddenly becomes shorter. Furthermore, more flowers are now in blossom. If this period coincides with a decline in activity of the first bumblebee hives, the pollination process might slow down considerably.

Many tomato growers introduced their bumblebee hives in the beginning of the growing season, some 8 to 10 weeks ago. This means that the activity of these bumblebee colonies is currently in decline.

However, now the first warm days of the season have arrived and tomato plants require an extra pollination effort. “During summer a tomato flower blossoms much more briefly than in winter,” says Wesley Akkermans, sustainable crop management at Biobest. “Sometimes a flower will blossom only 1 day during summer, instead of 3 in wintertime. Furthermore, more flowers per plant are in blossom during summer. So there is a lot more pollination work to be done.”

According to Wesley, you should anticipate this and introduce extra bumblebees. “Otherwise you take the risk of not getting optimal pollination in your crop,” he says.

Wesley advices to install an extra amount of 1 to 2 bumblebee nests per ha every week, depending on the tomato variety and the bumblebee species. For tailor-made advice contact your Biobest adviser or register on www.biobestgroup.com to get in contact with us straight away.

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