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Tomato pollinator - Does an excellent job.
This pollinator uses two AA batteries. It is simple to use and drives a counterweight that, when loosely held, does an excellent job of vibrating the cluster of blossoms.
Tomato flowers must be pollinated vigorously to get larger and more uniform fruit by increasing seed count.
Pollination should be every other day, preferable between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., when the relative humidity is lowest.
INFORMATION BELOW IS FROM THE MISSISSIPI STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION OFFICE:
Can I use a vibrating toothbrush rather than the expensive electric pollinators?
There are a variety of methods for getting the tomato flowers pollinated. All of the methods accomplish pollination by vibrating the flower enough for the pollen to move from the anthers to the stigma, almost entirely within the same flower. The best two methods are the electric pollinator and bumblebees.
The electric pollinator is available from a greenhouse supplier. If a grower has more than 10,000 square feet under one roof, bumblebees should be considered, since they are a tremendous labor savor. For areas between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet (under one roof) the economics of using bumblebees may or may not make sense. A grower needs to compare the costs of bees vs. labor. Other methods of pollinating, which are not as effective as the first two, include the following: electric toothbrush, leaf blower, air blast from backpack sprayer, shaking support wires by banging with sticks, etc. While the electric toothbrush will accomplish some pollination, it will not achieve as high yields as the electric pollinator.
The final size and weight of fruit are largely determined by the number of seeds set, which is ultimately due to the quality of pollination and fertilization. In a high tunnel, help with pollination is essential.
As described by Chris McLaughlin at Vegetable Grower...
"Tomatoes are "self-pollinating" plants. They have what's called "perfect" flowers. What this means is that they have flowers that have both the stamen and the stigma (male and female parts) on the same blossom. So, the pollen from the stamen falls onto its own stigma and we have pollination and eventually, fruit. Often this is process has been completed before the flowers are fully open - but not always."
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