why do my tomatoes have rot on the bottom
By Nikki Tilley (Author of Have you noticed tomato fruit that looks rotten on the bottom? A common problem in the garden, especially when, and a commonly asked about topic, blossom end rot is usually seen in half grown fruits or early on in the season. So what is tomato blossom end rot and what, if anything, can be done about it? Read on to learn more. Blossom end rot (BER) is a physiological condition that results in a brown or yellow water-soaked spot which appears on the end of the fruit where the blossom once was. As the tomato grows, this spot darkens, eventually becoming leathery and black, and may even cover half the fruit s bottom. Often blossom end rot in tomatoes is blamed on a lack of, either by depleted, poorly drained soil or simply from displacement due to transpiration, especially when plants are under stress. Technically, brown spots on tomatoes from blossom end rot is caused by this lack of calcium. For this reason, you often see it recommended that you should add calcium to the soil or replace the calcium in the plant through a foliar application in order to help correct the problem. But it is actually very rare for soil to be lacking in calcium.
Instead, there can be a number of other environmental causes of tomato blossom end rot, from uneven watering due to drought, heavy rainfall or an over caring gardener. Rapid plant growth, especially if given an overabundance of nitrogen early on, as well as fast climbing temperatures can contribute to blossom end rot in tomatoes and other susceptible fruits, like,
and. Blossom end rot occurs not because the soil lacks calcium but because the plant simply cannot take calcium out of the soil at a fast enough rate to keep up with the growth of the plant or because stress causes the plant to be unable to process the calcium the plant does take up. Unfortunately, this disorder cannot be fully cured, as you can t control nature. That said, tomato blossom end rot can be somewhat alleviated or managed to a certain extent by taking steps to improve or avoid conditions that foster its development at least those more easily controlled by the gardener, like poor soil, watering and fertilizing. and in a well-draining soil amended with organic matter will go a long way in giving the plants exactly what they need to develop healthy growth early on, which means that extra dose of fertilizer isn t necessary.
And if you do, opt for one that is lower in nitrogen and only apply at the recommended rates, or cut by half. Providing adequate and even amounts of is important too. The addition of can help retain moisture while keeping the soil and plant roots insulated. While it may or may not be effective, and is a highly debated topic, the addition of, limestone or calcium carbonate in the soil won t necessarily hurt, but it may not help much either. All in all, the majority of will at some point be affected with blossom end rot. But, in most cases, as the season progresses, this condition will normally clear up on its own without any major ill effects. As for the fruit suffering from tomato blossom end rot, these can simply be picked off and discarded or cut the bad parts out of larger, more ripened ones and eat the rest it won t harm you. When you have plenty of tomatoes on your plants, but some of them look like they are rotting on the vine, your tomatoes are suffering fromВ blossom end rot. The first sign is a brown discoloration near the bottom end of the fruit. These spots grow and darken until they cover up to half of the tomato, and the rotting fruit becomes vulnerable to secondary bacteria and fungi.
The affected tomatoes can t be saved, but the plant can. Blossom end rot is the result of calcium deficiency. However, that doesn t necessarily mean that you need to add calcium to your soil. Blossom end rot is most often caused by watering practicesвyour own or Mother Nature s. In a typical situation, the soil is allowed to dry out completely, and then the gardener over-compensates by watering heavily when the plant starts to wilt. The plant bounces back, but the damage has been done to fruit in an early state of development. During the dry conditions, the plant was unable to absorb sufficient calcium from the soil through its roots. When fruit develops, it shows the telltale rot at the blossom end. Another less common situation occurs when plants are given too much water. If you have a cool, wet spring and summer in your parts of the country, the plants take up so much moisture that the amount of available calcium is diluted, and the result is blossom end rot. If the problem is caused by too much moisture, side-dress the plants with bone meal to replenish the soil s supply of calcium.
A few brands of organic blossom end rot spray are on the market. These are calcium sprays that you spray on the foliage every week or so. This doesn t save any fruit that already shows rot, but it may prevent rot on future fruit. Test your soil in the fall or early spring for calcium. If it is calcium deficient, as determined by a В kit purchased at your local garden center, add ground limestone before setting out the tomato plants. A half pound of ground limestone per 10 square feet of soil raises the soil pH by about one point. If you can t locate a soil test kit that measures calcium content, contact your local cooperative extension service to learn how to collect a soil sample and send it to the lab for analysis. The report you receive alerts you to any mineral deficienciesВ in your soilвincluding calciumвas well as steps to correct the problems. After you, mulch the soil around the plants with sawdust, or grass clippings to prevent the loss of moisture. If you have tomatoes with blossom end rot on your plants, remove the damaged tomatoesвthey ll keep growing and use the plant s energy, which is better put to use producing new rot-free fruit.
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