By Michelle Fabio
Do your tomatoes have yellow or green shoulders?
That is, when the tops simply refuse to ripen to a glorious red color and instead stay yellow or green?
Bill Lamont, a professor and extension vegetable specialist with Penn State University’s Department of Horticulture, says that if your tomatoes have yellow shoulders, intense heat or light has probably prevented lycopene production, and there are several things you can do to help your tomatoes get red shoulders next time around.
What can you do to avoid yellow shoulders? Lamont suggests the following:
(1) Select varieties of tomatoes that are less prone to yellow shoulder, e.g., cherry tomatoes.
(2) Pick tomatoes at the “breaker stage” when you first see pink color and let the fruit ripen at room temperature.
(3) Be sure your plants get enough potassium fertilization.
(4) Make certain your plants have enough leaf cover so that ripening tomatoes are shielded from intense heat and light.
Have you had a problem with yellow shoulders? What have you done to combat it?