Blossom End Rot - Vegetables

blossom end rot

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Blossom-end rot is a common nutritional disorder of tomato, pepper, eggplant, pumpkin, squash and watermelon that is caused by a shortage of calcium in enlarging fruits. Calcium is taken up constantly by plant roots as a dissolved nutrient and travels first to the growing points- new leaves and shoots. Fruits may experience a shortage of calcium if water becomes less available to plant roots (drought).

This nutritional disorder typically occurs when plants are growing rapidly and the first fruits are developing. As fruit cells breakdown due to a lack of calcium, dark blemishes appear on the blossom-end of affected fruits. These may enlarge until the entire bottom of the fruit becomes dark, shrunken and leathery. Factors that encourage blossom-end rot include: low soil pH and low levels of calcium, inconsistent watering, shallow watering or droughty conditions, and excessive use of nitrogen fertilizers. Symptoms are rarely seen in cherry tomatoes and are most often seen in large plum or paste-type tomato cultivars and long pepper fruits.

Management:

The following steps can be taken to prevent this problem:

  1. Maintain soil pH in the 6.3-6.8 range.
  2. Mix in a handful of ground limestone with the soil from each planting hole prior to transplanting.
  3. Keep plants well mulched and watered through the growing season. Water deeply at least once per week if rainfall is lacking. A mature tomato plant may require 2-3 gallons of water per week.
  4. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers like ammonium nitrate.

Where symptoms appear, remove fruits immediately. Spraying affected plants with a calcium chloride solution may offer some temporary relief. Regular, deep watering will alleviate the problem if calcium levels in the soil are adequate.

Photo Gallery:


As fruit cells breakdown due to a lack of calcium, dark blemishes appear on the blossom-end of affected fruits

Symptoms on pepper

Blossom end rot on watermelon

blossom end rot tomato Blossom end rot of tomato

 

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