[Market-farming] Tomatoes: Post-flower cluster growth

William H Shoemaker wshoemak at illinois.edu
Fri Jun 10 08:17:58 EDT 2011

That's a good example of how plant breeding brings about unintended
consequences. In this case, it probably has no negative impact, unless the
tissue gets in the way of managing the crop. It could actually contribute a
little to building sugar in the fruit. It might be worth a little
experiment. You could trim the extended shoots off of a few plants and use a
refractometer to measure soluble solids (mostly sugars) in the juice of the
tomatoes at harvest. It would tell you whether those extended shoots help
boost sugar levels when they are left on the plant. 

If there are grape growers near you or wineries, they might have
refractometers. They are handheld tools and run about $125. Share some
tomatoes with them and they'll probably be happy to measure sugar levels.
It's a simple test.

William H. Shoemaker
Sr. Research Specialist, Food Crops
University of Illinois - Crop Sciences
St Charles Horticulture Research Center
535 Randall Road, St Charles, IL, 60174
630-584-7254, FAX-584-4610 
wshoemak at illinois.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Richard
Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2011 4:13 PM
To: Market Farming
Subject: [Market-farming] Tomatoes: Post-flower cluster growth

My Juliet tomatoes often begin to grow an extensive vegetative shoot out
past the tip of a 
flower cluster. I've seen this type of growth in at least one other variety
as well. 
Should this be pruned off, or does it help the tomatoes in that cluster? 

  Richard Robinson
  Hopestill Farm

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