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Why do my tomatoes start to rot on the same fruit part?

Why do my tomatoes start to rot on the same fruit part?


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I observe a phenomenon for many years now. I observe it on a wide diversity of tomatoes produced all over Europe and Northern Africa that are sold at my local supermarket.

When I keep my tomatoes at ambient temperature around 20 to 25 degrees celsius, they deteriorate after a variable time, usually starting a five to fifteen days after I bought them. Nothing abnormal so far.

However, I observed that the mold pattern of virtually all these tomatoes is the same. It almost always starts a few millimeters from the junction where the tomato was attached to its branch, forming a ring on the top of the fruit.

I have thought why this could happen and my main hypothesis is that when they are grown the sun hits the top of the tomatoes (except where it is attached to the branch, obviously) and some ultraviolet radiation might weaken the tomato resistance in some way. The other reasonable hypothesis, although I cannot think of a definite mechanism, is that gravity would favor this polarized degradation. I have other hypotheses but they are too far a stretch, I believe.

So what is really happening?

I am a biologist, just not into botany or agriculture, so feel free to go technical and not just oversimplify.


Mold spores float around everywhere in the air, in your home and on farms. They are also likely found on the surfaces of farm equipment used for harvesting (shears, knives, etc.). Grey mold can infect tomato leaves and stems where there are lesions, such as those introduced when harvesting fruit, when cutting the fruit off at the stem. This could happen wherever such spores can find ingress between the farm, produce distributors, the market, and your home.

Cite: https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/botrytis-gray-mold-of-tomato


Common Diseases of Tomatoes: Part I. Diseases Caused by Fungi

Diseases are a major limiting factor for tomato production. Diseases can be classified into two groups. The first are those caused by infectious microorganisms that include fungi, bacteria, viruses and nematodes. These diseases are contagious and can spread from plant to plant in a field, often very rapidly when environmental conditions are favorable. The second group includes those caused by non-infectious physical or chemical factors, such as adverse environmental factors, nutritional or physiological disorders and herbicide injury. Non-infectious diseases cannot spread from plant to plant however, the distribution of the disease may be quite uniform and extensive if an entire planting was exposed to the adverse factor.

It is critical for effective disease control to recognize the difference between infectious and non-infectious diseases, and the type of microorganism causing an infectious disease be determined. For example, use of a fungicide to control a non-infectious disease, such as blossom-end rot, is a wasted expense that will not correct the problem. This Fact Sheet is intended to aid vegetable producers in recognizing the symptoms of common tomato diseases caused by fungi. Fungi are the most common cause of infectious plant diseases and can be very destructive. Diseases of tomatoes caused by bacteria, viruses, and nematodes are described in Extension Fact Sheet EPP-7626. Non-infectious diseases of tomato are covered in Extension Fact Sheet EPP-7627. Often, symptoms of diseases are non-typical or confusing. It is a good practice to submit samples of diseased plants to the OSU Plant Disease and Insect Diagnostic Laboratory for an accurate diagnosis, particularly when a new disease is encountered.

Control of tomato diseases is best if all available methods (i.e. cultural practices, disease resistant varieties, and use of chemicals) are integrated into an overall management strategy. Cultural practices are aimed at avoiding disease or delaying its occurrence. It is critical to start with disease-free transplants because many infectious diseases may be carried on tomato seed. Crop rotation is another cultural practice for reducing losses from plant diseases. It is important to remember that vegetables such as pepper, eggplant and potato should be avoided in rotations with tomatoes. These crops are susceptible to many of the same diseases. Cultural management of the crop will also influence what diseases may develop. Tomatoes allowed to spread on the ground will develop more soil rot problems, while fruit on staked or trellised plants will be exposed more to sunscald. Tomatoes irrigated by sprinkler systems that wet the foliage and fruit are more likely to develop disease problems than those watered by drip or furrow systems.

Planting disease-resistant varieties is probably the most effective and economical method of disease control. Disease resistance can be utilized to solve current problems or to prevent a disease from increasing. Fortunately, many excellent tomato varieties have been developed with resistance to one or more of the common tomato diseases. The letters “V” (Verticillium wilt), “F” (Fusarium wilt), “N” (root-knot nematode), “T” or “TMV” (tobacco mosaic virus), “A” or “ASC” (Alternaria stem canker) and “S” or “St” (Stemphyllium-gray leaf spot) appear in the variety descriptions in seed catalogs or on seed packages to designate resistance to the corresponding diseases. Strains of the Fusarium wilt fungus have developed that can overcome previously resistant varieties. “F1” indicates resistance to the original strain (race 1), while “F2 and F3” indicate resistance to new strains (races 2 and 3). Extension Fact Sheet HLA-6032 lists many disease-resistant tomato varieties known to perform well in Oklahoma.

Chemical control is sometimes necessary because resistance is not yet available for some important diseases. The registration status, rates, timings and method of application of fungicides often change. Consult the current Extension Agents Handbook of Insect, Plant Disease and Weed Control (E-832) or the local county Extension educator for the latest recommendations for chemical control of tomato diseases.


13 Common Tomato Problems

1. Fruit with black sunken areas on the blossom end

Blossom end rot presents as ugly black sunken spots on the blossom end of tomatoes. Although it looks like a disease it is actually caused by a lack of calcium.

In addition, blossom-end rot is also exacerbated by excessively dry conditions, uneven watering, excess nitrogen or root damage.

The good news is that usually only a few tomatoes are impacted at the beginning of the harvest season.

To fix, provide your tomatoes with enough calcium &ndash crushed eggshells are a great option both in the planting hole and also around the base of the plant. Water tomatoes deeply one to two times a week rather than lightly more often. This promotes healthy root growth.

2. Few flowers or flowers dropping

If your plant only develops a few flowers or the flowers begin to drop off before setting fruit, it could be because of any of the following:

  • Stress from drought
  • Too much nitrogen
  • Too little sun
  • Night temperatures above 70 degrees F or below 50 degrees F
  • Day temperatures above 85 degrees F

Because the most common cause of few or dropping flowers is weather &ndash plants generally perk up once the weather issue has passed. Help keep your plants strong by regular feeding and planting to draw pollinators &ndash good options are milkweed and cosmos.

3. Fruit cracking

Tomatoes may suffer circular cracking which introduces an opportunity for insects and birds to start munching on the fruit.

Cracks are generally the result of hot and rainy weather. If the weather has been particularly arid with little rain and tomatoes are thirsty, they soak up the water from the rain quickly which causes the fruit to swell and crack.

Be sure to provide plenty of moisture for your tomatoes during the growing season. This will keep them from becoming overly thirsty when there is a heavy downpour.

4. Sunscald

Tomato plants and fruit may look and seem perfectly healthy but develop symptoms of sunscald as they mature.

Yellow patches appear on fruit which turns white and extremely thin. This creates a poor appearance and also impacts the taste. True to the name, tomatoes have actually been scalded by the sun.

To protect plants from sunscald use a sturdy wire cage around the plant that allows for stable branch support and natural shade for developing tomatoes.

Sunscald most frequently appears on plants that have been heavily pruned leaving too little foliage and too few branches for shade.

5. Deformed fruit

If your tomatoes appear deformed and the blossom end is rippled and lumpy it could be that pollination happened when temperatures were cool &ndash around 50 -55 degrees F.

To avoid this deformation, plant tomatoes a little later, once the weather is truly warm. You can also use black plastic on the soil to help plants stay warm at night.

6. Poor fruit set

Tomato plants that receive too much nitrogen will develop into big green busy adults but they also may have few flowers and small, tasteless fruits.

Not leaving enough space between plants does not allow for proper pollination which can also cause poor fruit set.

Be sure to leave at least two feet or more between plants for air circulation and pollination. To help with pollination, shake the flowering branches

7. Leaf rolling / leaf curl

Curled leaves at the bottom a tomato plant are caused by high temperatures or wet soil which causes stress. It may look ugly but thankfully, this condition will not impact tomato development.

To help your plants recover, don&rsquot over-prune and make sure to plant in well-draining soil or containers with plenty of drainage.

8. Brown spots on leaves

Spots develop on older leaves first and begin to form rings like a target, Following this they turn yellow around the brown spot and the entire leaf turns brown and falls off.

If this is happening to your tomatoes, it is likely a condition called Early Blight. It can be so bad that eventually, your plant may have few if any leaves.

Early Blight is caused by a fungus that overwinters in the soil. This means that if your tomatoes had a problem with the condition the year before and you plant them in the same spot the following year, they are highly susceptible to the condition again.

The best way to prevent this is to rotate crops so that new plants do not get the disease. Eggplants and peppers can also experience Early Blight.

When planting tomatoes be sure to stake and prune plants to encourage circulation. Disinfect your pruning shears using one part bleach and 4 parts water, after each cut. Keep dead or decaying organic material away from plants and use a layer of organic compost under plants.

To keep foliage dry, use a drip irrigation system. Baking soda has fungicidal properties that can help stop blight or reduce the spread.

To make a spray, add 1 teaspoon baking soda to 1 quart of water along with 2 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil to help the solution stick to plants. Pour mixture in a spray bottle and shake before applying to the entire plant. Do not apply in the heat of the day.

Additionally, having good insect control in your garden can help prevent the spread of spores. Copper fungicides can also be effective &ndash be sure to follow application instructions.

9. Wilting plants

Plants impacted by Fusarium Wilt may look fine one day and suddenly begin to wilt the next day. This condition is caused by a fungus that attacks the vascular system of the plant (like human veins).

The fungus destroys the xylem tubes which are responsible for transporting water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves. One side only may be impacted at first but soon the whole plant begins to wilt. Water exacerbates the condition and the plant soon dies.

The best way to handle the condition is to take a preventative approach.

Crop rotation is essential as is purchasing wilt resistant varieties of tomatoes. This fungus, like the Early Blight, also lives in soil over the winter so make sure that you don&rsquot plant tomatoes in the same spot each year.

10. Powdery mildew

Leaves that are impacted by powdery mildew look as if they have been brushed with a fine white powder. In addition, you may also find white spots on the stem.

If the fungi progress it eventually turns leaves yellow and brown.

Powdery mildew results when humidity is high and there is poor air circulation, making this condition common in greenhouses. There are a number of natural ways to combat this condition including:

  • Milk &ndash Some gardeners have success using 60% milk and 40% water as a plant spray. It is thought that when milk is exposed to the sun it creates free radicals that kill the fungus. Spray leaves twice a week for best results.
  • Garlic &ndash Garlic has a high sulfur content which is an effective anti-fungicide. You can purchase garlic oil or make your own at home. Either way &ndash coat leaves with the solution bi-weekly until the condition improves.
  • Apple cider vinegar &ndash The high acid level in vinegar can kill the mildew. Be sure to add only 4 tablespoons of vinegar to one gallon of water. Spray on leaves every three days.
  • Baking soda &ndash Baking soda has a pH of 9 which is quite high. When you use baking soda on plants it raises the pH level of the plant creating an alkaline environment which kills the fungus. Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda and ½ tsp liquid hand soap with a gallon of water. Spray the affected leaves and dispose of any leftover solution. Don&rsquot apply during daylight hours and test a couple of leaves first to check to make sure that the solution does not cause sunburn on your plant.

Copper fungicides can also help with the condition. Just be sure to follow the application instructions.

11. Bulls-eye circle on the blossom end

A mushy, bulls-eye circle on the tomato may be a sign of a nasty fungus known as anthracnose.

The spot is soft to touch and reveals a black spot under the skin upon slicing. The fungus takes hold in hot and moist weather and is spread when water spaces on the ground pushing the fungus upward.

The best way to avoid this condition is to switch to a drip irrigation system that waters the roots not the foliage of the plant.

Be sure to harvest tomatoes when they are ripe. Letting tomatoes hang on the vine too long is just an invitation for the fungus.

12. Puffiness

Tomatoes may look great and ripen on time but you find something strange when you slice into the fruit. There are large open spaces with very little fruit.

In addition, you may notice that the fruit was lighter than usual upon harvesting and also had an angular or square shape. This condition is caused by lack of nutrients, poor soil or inadequate pollination.

Be sure that you are feeding your plants during the growing season. Keep in mind that tomatoes are heavy feeders and a frequent top dressing of homemade compost or compost tea is necessary for healthy fruit.

13. Holes in fruit

Your tomatoes may have small holes that collapse when you pick them up. This could be from tomato fruit worms. The moth larvae make a hole in fruits and begin eating from the inside out. Once the larvae have made a hole the only thing you can do is destroy the fruit that is infected.

If you have consistent trouble with fruit worms try starting your planting under row covers, keeping them covered until they flower.

Remember, the best medicine is always prevention &ndash even for your tomato plants.

Always put plenty of time into choosing healthy plants, preparing the planting area and tending your tomatoes throughout the growing season. This time and effort won&rsquot guarantee zero problems but it will go a long ways towards ensuring the health of your plants and fruit!


What Causes Tomatoes to Split on the Vine?

We have already seen that tomatoes crack when the growth of the flesh outpaces the growth of the skin. This brings us to the next question—what causes this to happen?

Your tomato is not really "growing" when this occurs, that is there is no massive cell multiplication happening, instead, the cells of the fruit are just absorbing more water than the typical quantity they hold which causes them all to bloat simultaneously, thereby giving a false impression that the fruit has suddenly grown.

This tends to happen when there is a sudden influx of water to the soil. There are two instances where this happens, one natural and the other human error.

  • A sudden and heavy rainfall soaking the soil.
  • Irregular watering where the soil goes from dry to soaking up a lot of water.

In both instances, the soil needs to hold this sudden influx of water for a sufficient period of time. Anything above a quarter of an hour could begin to cause problems if I were to make an educated guess. Therefore, your regular practice of watering every time your soil goes dry should not cause the fruit to crack. It is very important that you follow the right watering techniques throughout the season, but this is all the more important during the fruiting phase if you want to prevent cracks and splits.

A split tomato that left on the vine that shows signs of the split healing up. Pathogens if any would have already infected the fruit, it is wise to harvest this tomato and not to continue leaving it on the plant.


Identifying Blossom End Rot

This condition usually occurs when the fruit is half grown and can happen both when the fruit is green or has already begun to ripen. It begins with your tomatoes turning black at the bottom in a small area that seems water soaked and depressed. As the fruit continues to grow and as the condition persists, this spot enlarges and becomes sunken, dark and hardens to form a leathery texture.

If this happens just as the fruit is maturing, you do not need to kill the fruit, you can harvest and cut off the affected region, the rest of the tomato would be fit for consumption.

Blossom end rot (BER) appearing on a single tomato in a bunch. I would personally chop off this single fruit allowing the others to grow well instead of risking them all.


How to kill tomato fruitworms organically

1) Attract Natural predators

Fortunately, tomato fruitworms do have natural predators. Attracting these to your your garden can be a huge help in controlling these pesky things.

  • parasitic Trichogramma wasp
  • big-eyed bugs
  • minute pirate bugs
  • damsel bugs
  • lacewigs

2) How to Prevent tomato fruitworms

  • Minimize their food source. Avoid planting near corn or cotton – the corn plant is there favorite. So keep tomatoes as far away as possible.
  • Watch for eggs on both sides of the leaves – begin by looking closest to the bloom. Pick off any leaves found with eggs and destroy them.
  • You can use cover cloths to keep adult moth from laying eggs on your plants

3) How to Get rid of tomato fruitworms

  • 1) Watch for larva which looks like a tiny worm
  • 2) Apply Bt- Bacillus thuringiensis – liquid- this does break down in UV light – so you will need to apply it every few days at the first sign of eggs
  • 3) Use Neem Oil or Insecticidal soap (see recipe below) once a week and after each rain
  • 4) Apply Diatomacous Earth around the base of the stems to kill larva
  • 5) Hand-picking when you can find them

To attract these natural predators to your garden plant – grow lots dill, parsley, asters, goldenrod, daisies, alfalfa and stinging nettles near the garden or very close to your tomatoes.

Not only are these flowers helping to control the fruitworm, the goldenrod and alfalfa will feed pollinators into late fall.

Goldenrod for attracting natural predators of the tomato fruitworm

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Why Are My Squash Rotting?

Are the lower ends of your squash turning brown and failing to develop properly? These are the symptoms of a common disorder known as blossom end rot. Recent low nighttime temperatures most likely triggered the blossom end rot we are seeing now. Fruits that show blossom end rot will not develop properly and should be removed from the plant. Several other common soil and weather conditions can cause this disorder, all of which must be managed to prevent blossom end rot from developing at anytime during the harvest season.

GETTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

Blossom end rot most commonly affects tomatoes and squash but can also occur on peppers and watermelons. This problem is not a disease and does not spread from one plant to another. Instead, it is classified as a physiological disorder and is caused by a lack of calcium in the developing fruit. Anytime the absorption or movement of calcium into the plant is slowed, blossom end rot will likely develop. Blossom end rot can be a sporadic or persistent problem, depending on what is preventing calcium from reaching the developing fruits.

While plants absorb calcium from the soil, low soil calcium levels are rarely a cause of blossom end rot in our area. Instead, blossom end rot is most often caused by low soil pH or plant stress due to unusually cool or hot weather, drought, or wet soil conditions. In acidic soils, where the pH is below 5.5, some nutrients are locked up chemically so plants cannot absorb them even if they are present in plentiful amounts. Calcium is one of the nutrients that become less available to plants under acidic conditions. Where low soil pH is the cause of blossom end rot, the problem is usually persistent throughout the entire growing season.

To find out if your soil is acidic or low in calcium, get a soil sample box and paperwork for free from your local Cooperative Extension office and then mail it in. It is $4 per sample December-March. You can look up your report online after a few weeks or less. The pH of acidic soils can be raised by adding lime, but this should only be done if soil test results indicate it is needed. Many soils in our area are high in pH and adding more lime to these soils can increase nutrient deficiency problems. If your pH is low, sprinkling lime on plants or on top of the soil will not help this season, since lime must be mixed into the soil to raise pH. To change pH, lime should be tilled into the soil 6” to 8” deep at least three months before planting. The same is true for gypsum, sometimes referred to as land plaster, a substance that supplies calcium without raising soil pH.

MANAGING NUTRIENTS AND WATER

Blossom end rot on tomato fruits.

Over applying fertilizers that are high in nitrogen is another common cause of blossom end rot. Nitrogen promotes rapid, dark green, leafy growth. Plants that are growing very quickly often cannot move enough calcium into fruits to support proper development, leading to blossom end rot. To avoid blossom end rot, be careful not to overdo it with high nitrogen fertilizers like MiracleGro or soda. For season long feeding, rely on slow release fertilizers such as Osmocote or organic fertilizers such as Plant-tone.

In addition to over fertilizing, any conditions that cause root damage can lead to poor nutrient absorption and blossom end rot. The most common causes of root damage in vegetable gardens are wet soils following heavy rainfall or over irrigation. Planting in containers or raised beds will promote good soil drainage and reduce blossom end rot in areas with heavy or clay soils.

Drought is another leading cause of blossom end rot because roots cannot absorb nutrients from dry soils. In fact, the single most important thing you can do to prevent blossom end rot is to keep soils evenly moist by watering during dry weather. Vegetables require between an inch and an inch and a half of water each week from rainfall or irrigation to grow well. When rainfall is lacking, water plants once or twice a week. Soaker hoses are a great way to water vegetables and other plants because they apply water directly to the ground, instead of wetting plant leaves, which can increase disease problems.

Learn more about BER and other tomato and squash problems from these Extension resources:


To Avoid Blossom-End Rot, Tomatoes Require Calcium

A: It is that time of year that the tomatoes are just starting to turn red and gardeners are ready for that first fresh tomato out of the garden. Unfortunately, a common problem that occurs for many home gardeners is to have tomatoes turn brown on the bottom right before it begins to ripen. When this spot is noticed it is often thought that a disease is causing the rot to occur, but in fact what is occurring is referred to as blossom-end rot on tomatoes. Blossom-end rot is not a disease but instead is a nutrient deficiency. The nutrient that is lacking is calcium.

Blossom-end rot will be a rot that is dark brown in color and has a tough, leathery feel. The rot will be on the blossom-end of the tomato fruit. The spot is usually about the size of a dime and enlarges to the size of a half-dollar. Typically, blossom-end rot is worse on the first fruit that develops but it can also occur throughout the season.

As mentioned previously, blossom-end rot is due to a lack of calcium in the fruit. There are a couple of things that can cause calcium to be deficient in the tomato. One way is if soil pH is too low which would cause calcium to not be available to the plant.

Dry weather or improper watering practices can also contribute to a calcium deficiency in the tomato fruit. Tomatoes require about 1 inch of water per week. Extreme fluctuations in soil moisture (either too dry or too wet) result in a greater incidence of blossom-end rot.

Of course the question is, what can be done to prevent or correct blossom-end rot. As far as correcting goes, the tomatoes that are already affected will continue to be deformed. They are safe to eat, but it reduces the amount of the tomato that can be used. If you have a lot of tomato plants with blossom-end rot, it might be good to pick off and get rid of the fruits that are severely affected.

When blossom-end rot is first spotted, spraying a calcium solution (Tomato Saver, Blossom-end Rot Preventer, Stop Rot) will help reduce blossom-end rot on later tomatoes. Ideally, calcium spray should start when the first green tomatoes are about the size of a silver dollar. Check the label for how much and how often you should spray.

If blossom-end rot is a recurring problem each year, you should get a soil test to see what the soil pH is. If the soil pH is too low, calcium is not available to the plant. Optimum soil pH for tomatoes should be 6.5 to 6.7. Adding lime to the soil will increase the soil pH and add calcium to the soil. Getting a soil test will be to only way to determine for sure what your soil pH is and how much lime you should add. Soil test kits are available at Wayne County Extension Office.

Proper watering and fertilizing practices are important in reducing blossom-end rot. Mulching around plants will conserve soil moisture and reduce moisture fluctuations in the soil. Avoid applying too much fertilizer at one time and avoid high rates of nitrogen fertilizer.

Following these practices can reduce the chances of discovering blossom-end rot on your tomatoes and instead will allow you to enjoy that fresh home-grown tomato!

For additional lawn and garden information contact the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. One can reach the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic by phone at 919-731-1433, e-mail at [email protected], or stopping by Room 100 of the Wayne County Extension Office (208 West Chestnut Street, Goldsboro).

Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this article as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this article does not imply endorsement by North Carolina Cooperative Extension nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical.


Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes

A: It is that time of year that the tomatoes should be soon starting to turn red and gardeners are eagerly awaiting that first fresh tomato out of the garden. Unfortunately, a common problem that occurs for many home gardeners is to have tomatoes turn brown on the bottom right before it begins to ripen. When this spot is noticed it is often thought that a disease is causing the rot to occur, but in fact what is occurring is referred to as blossom-end rot on tomatoes. Blossom-end rot is not a disease but instead is a nutrient deficiency. The nutrient that is lacking is calcium.

Blossom-end rot will be a rot that is dark brown in color and has a tough, leathery feel. The rot will be on the blossom-end of the tomato fruit. The spot is usually about the size of a dime and enlarges to the size of a half-dollar. Typically, blossom-end rot is worse on the first fruit that develops but it can also occur throughout the season.

As mentioned previously, blossom-end rot is due to a lack of calcium in the fruit. There are a couple of things that can cause calcium to be deficient in the tomato. One way is if soil pH is too low which would cause calcium to not be available to the plant.

Dry weather or improper watering practices can also contribute to a calcium deficiency in the tomato fruit. Tomatoes require about 1 inch of water per week. Extreme fluctuations in soil moisture (either too dry or too wet) result in a greater incidence of blossom-end rot. Inconsistent soil moisture is often the main contributor to blossom-end rot.

Of course the question is, what can be done to prevent or correct blossom-end rot. As far as correcting goes, the tomatoes that are already affected will continue to be deformed. They are safe to eat, but it reduces the amount of the tomato that can be used. If you have a lot of tomato plants with blossom-end rot, it might be good to pick off and get rid of the fruits that are severely affected.

When blossom-end rot is first spotted, spraying a calcium solution (Tomato Saver, Blossom-end Rot Preventer, Stop Rot) will help reduce blossom-end rot on later tomatoes. Ideally, calcium spray should start when the first green tomatoes are about the size of a silver dollar. Check the label for how much and how often you should spray.

If blossom-end rot is a recurring problem each year, you should get a soil test to see what the soil pH is. If the soil pH is too low, calcium is not available to the plant. Optimum soil pH for tomatoes should be 6.5 to 6.7. Adding lime to the soil will increase the soil pH and add calcium to the soil. Getting a soil test will be to only way to determine for sure what your soil pH is and how much lime you should add. Soil test kits are available at Wayne County Extension Office.

Proper watering and fertilizing practices are important in reducing blossom-end rot. Mulching around plants will conserve soil moisture and reduce moisture fluctuations in the soil. Avoid applying too much fertilizer at one time and avoid high rates of nitrogen fertilizer.

Following these practices can reduce the chances of discovering blossom-end rot on your tomatoes and instead will allow you to enjoy that fresh home-grown tomato!

Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this article as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this article does not imply endorsement by North Carolina Cooperative Extension nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical.


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