What the heck did this???

hortster(6a, southcentral KS)August 27, 2012

Don't spend much time on this forum, probably should. I have grown tomatoes for a long time and am familiar with all the common maladies.

I visited my son in Chicago. He asked my horticultural advice on this malady and I must admit I came up totally blank, never having seen this before. Blindly would suspect some fungal infection, but what?.

The pictures are of a 'Roma' fruit. It is close (actually too close at 3 to 3-1/2' away) from an 'Early Girl." The Early Girl is as healthy as can be with no trace of insect or disease problems and is producing well. Actually, the Roma is producing well, too, but is often blighting back with the same distress as in the pictures.

Anyone seen this? Help out a fellow horticulturist! Thanks in advance for any ideas.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

The last picture is what makes the diagnosis.

It's what's called internal BER ( blossom end rot). Most of the time the symptoms of BER are seen at the blossom end and are seen only on the exterior, but sometimes the Ca++ level is so low in the interior that that tissue turns black as well.

It's quite well known that paste tomatoes are much more susceptible to BER than are other varieties, as well as being more susceptible to Early Blight ( A. solani) as well.

Romas are paste tomatoes, thus are showing , I guess just this one fruit with internal BER and that's why the Early Girls next to it are not showing it.

Is internal BER very common? No, not common, but can certainly be seen from time to time as the many variables that can induce BER play out in any one season.

Hope that helps.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 1:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Very common occurance

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 3:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Maybe a very comon occurance for you, but not for most folks based on my own past experience of growing tomatoes for over 60 years, about 3,000 plus varieties to date with just heirloom types alone but also the earlier years of growing up on a farm where we had acres and acres of tomatoes. As well as participating at many different message sites since the mid-80's.

Sometimes it pays to be an older person who has seen more than others when it comes to tomatoes. LOL

What almost everyone sees as BER are the specific symptoms that are limited to the exterior of the blossom end only.

Even here at GW where I've been, from time to time, for over 12 years I don't think I can remember that many times when internal BER has been an issue.

Many like myself don't take pictures so it's usually someone saying that they cut open a fruit and it was all black inside. And then asking if the seeds in those black areas are OK.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 8:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hortster(6a, southcentral KS)


Thanks for the diagnosis. I am one of those that thought BER was only at the blossom end, but have been enlightened!

We see it often in this area, even though soils are limestone based and many are highly calcareous. Typically happens here due to the tops of the plants outgrowing the roots in early spring or overfertilization pushing the foliage and keeping the calcium from the fruit.

I will forward your comments to my son. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 1:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had never seen BER inside a tomato before this year but this summer I have cut into several that looked beautiful on the outside and had the typical black spot inside. Also had a client send pictures of a Roma with the same thing. Could it be related to the weather? I didn't have but a couple of typical BER tomatoes this year on 30 plants so the internal problem really surprised me.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 10:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Sandy, there are many variables that play into BER being induced and many threads here discussing it. For sure weather can be one of them.

It's well known that paste varieties are more susceptible to it, as well as Early Blight (A. solani).

What causes internal BER as opposed to the much more external kind that almost all of us are familiar with. I can only speculate, knowing that the physiology of varieties can be very different ( movement of water and nutrients within the plant) that sometimes the lack of Ca++ occurs internally as well. And I'd attribute that to the transpiration of ions that's known to occur through the upper leaf surface.

Sheer guess work on my part trying to put together transpiration, all the variables known to induce BER and come up with something that at least sounds reasonable to me. LOL


    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 9:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the response, Carolyn. I get a lot of questions about BER and I'm still learning more about it each year. Not a scientist or professional, just a long time Master Gardener who likes to know what I'm talking about!

(I bought your book about 3 years ago and didn't realize I was getting a collectible item! Wow! It is one of my most prized books and won't part from me until my hands are cold and dead!!!)

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 10:21AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Should I grow white tomatoes?
I have Great White seeds and already sprouted some....
Are my tomato plants salvageable?
I have over fertilized my seedlings. Just wondering...
Concerned about Mr. Stripey Heirloom Tomatoes
I recently picked up a pakc of little tomato plants...
How Is The Weather ..1- 2015
Spring has arrived early here. The temperatures are...
Seysonn_ 7b-WA/HZ1
Container size for tomatos
I'm considering some of the larger tomato plants. How...
Sponsored Products
Modern Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Loloi Rugs Rugs Ventura Lifestyle Collection
Home Depot
Stowe Leather Ottoman - Brighton Black Black
Joybird Furniture
TRIXIE My Kitty Darling Scratching Post - 44841
$42.07 | Hayneedle
Yellow Rose & Viburnum Pot Arrangement
$19.99 | zulily
Piep Show Bird Feeder by Radius
$49.00 | Lumens
Graber Fabric Vertical. Free Samples and Shipping!
$82.00 | Blinds.com
Compamia ISP845-WH Miami Resin Loveseat - White - ISP845-WH
$369.99 | Hayneedle
Home Decorators Area Rug: Olympia Blue 3' 6" x 5' 6"
Home Depot
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™