The Q&A Archives: Too Much Gypsum Causing Blossom Drop On Tomatoes?

Question: I have a 600 square foot garden and added 50 pounds of gypsum to the area. This was done to loosen up the soil. The tomatoes I started from Burpee seed are dropping their buds--almost looks as if the neck of the blossom was pinched or squeezed off. This was not done by an insect. Is it too much gypsum in the ground that is causing this? The pH is around 6-6.5 and the nutrient level is adequate. Since we live in SE NC, the day time temps are around 85-90 and night time 60-70 farenheit. What can I do to help the tomatoes start to set fruit?

Answer: Blossom drop can be caused by a number of reasons, ranging from lack of pollination to weather extremes -- nights too hot or too cold, too much rain, not enough rain, and so on. The best you can do is make sure that the soil is kept evenly moist. Be sure you are not doing anything to discourage bee and wasp activity and thus inadvertently limiting pollination. Some gardeners also report some success from shaking the plants to stimulate pollen movement and using a "blossom set" spray available in garden centers, but even this will not help under extreme conditions.

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