Blossom rot, what causes, how to treat it??

cyrus_gardner(8)July 11, 2009

Some of my tomatoes are roting from blossom end. I heard that this is called blossom rot. This problem is much more sever in ROMA than others. I just get rid of them at the first notice. As I do not want them to waste the plans resources.

Now my questions are: (1) what causes it and (2) how can it be prevented. Rots usually happen when there is lots of rain. But we have not had that problem. Also, I water my plants from ground (NO spray) and I keep the lower parts of my plants trimmed, so air can circulate. The tomatoes that get rot, most of them are in the open and not hiding inside or touching the ground.

Well, I have lots of tomatoes and not worried about the amount of crop but I post this to find out and hopefully it will also help my fellow gardener with similar problem.


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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

See the FAQ

Basically, insufficient calcium gets to the end of the fruit. Management is to maintain evenly moist soil.

Here is a link that might be useful: FAQ

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 3:26AM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

Lack of calcium. One way to cure it is to add ground up eggshells to the soil. But a faster way would be to find a foliar spray with calcium. I've read about them, but do not know a commercial source.

You might try grinding up eggshells and soaking them in water a few days for a sprayer.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 7:09AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Lack of Ca++ is not the main reason that BER occurs, rather, it's the many stresses that the plants have that cause maldistriubtion within the plant such that the Ca++ doesn't get to the end of the fruits.

Tissue has been taken from plants that have BER fruits and that tissue has plenty of Ca++, so uptake thru the roots is just fine.

The two main stresses that can induce BER are uneven delivery of water and growing in too rich soil or overfertilizing. But too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy can also cause it, but less frequently.

Two exceptions to the Ca++ story/ a) some soils have no Ca++, which is very rare, b) if soils are too acidic that binds the Ca++ in the soil, and that's rare as well.

Paste varieties such as your romas are well known to be more susceptible to BER.

As the plants mature they can better handle all the various stresses and BER usually goes away naturally.

And I can't remember what's in the FAQ that Jean referred you to, click on that link at the top of this first page, so please read that as well.

If container growing with artificial mix you may need to add some Ca++, otherwise, no additional Ca++ is needed.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 7:56AM
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I was recommended to add a tablespoon of calcium nitrate to a gallon of water every week to help fix and prevent BER. I just ordered some and will start as soon as it comes. I am also getting some BER on my Enchantments which are plum/egg shaped - not on all of them but I'd like to nip it in the bud so to speak

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 8:22AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

In the many discussions here on BER there are lots of so-called "quick fixes" offered - egg shells, Tums tablets, vitamin pills, calcium nitrate, lime, and so on. Unfortunately few if any of them do any good as they ignore all of the research on the issue as to what the true causes are.

But they do make the gardener feel better. ;)


Here is a link that might be useful: BER discussions

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 9:08AM
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Here's a follow-up question on BER.

Due to inconsistent watering during this very hot and dry summer, several of the tomatoes on the lower trusses of my plants ended up with both internal and external BER. My question is - does BER cause the fruit to ripen quicker? I have a Cherokee Chocolate with external BER and several Brandywine with internal BER that blushed this morning. I planted them out between mid to late May. There's no way they should be ripening this soon... but here they are. The fruits without BER are all still very green.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 10:38AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Yes cf, in my experience BER does make tomatoes ripen faster, actually much faster.

When BER is a foor in the field I always find the first greenies that have it and take them off. I can't see the sense of allowing a BER affected fruit to ripen up to maturity b'c it just takes more energy from the plant that could be used elsewhere.

Again, folks, Ca++ is NOT the primary cause of BER as I tried to desperately indicate in my post above.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 1:58PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Can't make the point too often IMO Carolyn because unfortunately it just doesn't seem to get out and about to the masses.

Good article struwwelpeter and reiterates Carolyn's point well in the section on calcium/tomato research. The link has come up for discussion in the past several times but the "lack of soil calcium causes BER" myth persists.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 2:09PM
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Thanks for your explanation Carolyn. I am growing in containers and I should have specified that on my post. I don't know if I need to add CA or not but it can't hurt me so I'll try it.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 3:03PM
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