Whether you have tomato plants or you’re just a gardener, you’re likely curious about what causes bottom rot disease in tomatoes. There are several factors that contribute to this common tomato problem. It’s important to understand these factors so you can avoid the disease in the future.
Watering Too Much or Too Little
Symptoms of tomato bottom rot can include a sunken, black, mushy lesion at the bottom of the fruit. If left untreated, the lesion may become covered by secondary black mold. It is a benign disease that can be treated effectively.
Tomato plants require calcium in all of their growing parts. If the calcium is not delivered in sufficient amounts, the plant will begin to breakdown. A good way to keep calcium levels high is to use a fertilizer with high superphosphates. Alternatively, you can apply powdered milk to the water to keep the tomatoes hydrated.
Blossom end rot is also caused by insufficient watering. When the weather is dry, the plant is unable to draw up calcium from the soil. In hot climates, the plant may need to be watered two times a day. Alternatively, you can use a soaker hose to deliver a slow, steady supply of water.
Blossom end rot can also be caused by cold temperatures. It is important to plant shade to keep your plants from getting too hot or windy.
Too Much or Too Little Calcium
During the growing season, tomato plants need a lot of calcium to grow properly. But too much or too little calcium can cause blossom end rot, a disease that affects tomatoes. There are ways to prevent blossom end rot, but you need to take care.
First, you must find out if your soil has adequate calcium. You can do this by analyzing the soil with a soil test kit. The pH level should be around 6.0 to 6.5, depending on the soil. Then, you can add gypsum or lime to the soil to help with calcium levels.
You can also add egg shells to the soil for added calcium. But the problem with egg shells is that they take time to break down and release calcium. You can also add powdered milk to your water for an instant source of calcium.
Tomato plants need to be watered consistently to ensure they get all the calcium they need. Adding mulch to the soil can help retain moisture and prevent water logging.
Too Much or Too Little Moisture
During the dry season, tomatoes can develop a bottom rot disease. The disease is caused by a calcium deficiency. The first symptom is a sunken lesion at the bottom of the tomato. This lesion is dark brown to black in color and may cover about one-half of the fruit. If you notice a sunken lesion, you can prevent it from getting worse.
To prevent bottom rot disease, make sure your tomato plants are getting enough calcium. You can add a calcium supplement to the soil or use powdered milk in your water. These products are safer than lime.
Another way to increase the calcium in your soil is to add egg shells to the soil. Eggshells take time to decompose, but the calcium can then be picked up by the tomato plants.
You can also use a general tomato fertilizer with calcium. This can be purchased online or at your local nursery. You can apply the fertilizer to your tomatoes according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Treating Blossom End Rot
Several diseases affect tomatoes, but blossom end rot is the most common. It is caused by insufficient uptake of calcium by the plant. The affected fruit develops a leathery or rough texture. The affected fruit may also develop an internal black lesion.
If your plants are developing blossom end rot, take steps to stop it from spreading. A simple remedy is to water the plant properly. In addition, mulching can also help keep soil moisture levels even.
Besides watering, you can also use fertilizer applications. These applications are especially helpful when you are planting a large number of tomato plants. Calcium-rich fertilizer can prevent blossom end rot.
Soil testing is also important to find the source of blossom end rot. This can be done by a home soil test kit. You can also take samples of the soil and send it to your local lab. A soil test can help you identify the calcium level in the soil.
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