Blossom End Rot Rears Its Head

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on June 6, 2011

It rained a couple of weeks ago, and has been hot and muggy since then.  With the humidity so high, I am getting a lot of calls about tomatoes that are big and beautiful, but get a black spot.  That black spot starts on the blossom end of the tomato and travels toward the stem end.  Lightly infected plants have a few black spots.  Heavily infected plants turn into black mush.

Blossom end rot is not unique to tomatoes, but it causes more trouble in tomatoes.  Basically, it is an electorate imbalance involving calcium.  Before you run out and get some calcium for your tomatoes, though, you should know it won’t help. What will help is you watering practices.  Nine times out of ten when I ask about watering their garden, they tell me they water by hand.  ‘This splashes soil on the tomatoes and spreads the disease.

There is no cure for blossom end rot one it starts.  It is important to pick the tomatoes with problems and trash them as soon as you see them.  This helps keep the problem from spreading.  There are two other things you can do about this problem.  Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to water so you do not splash soil on your tomatoes.  Put three inches of mulch around your tomatoes.  This kept them from touching the ground, but also serves to keep soil from splashing up and infecting them.  Mulch also conserves water.  Make sure there is enough space between your plants so that air and sunlight can penetrate.  Follow these suggestions and you should have minimal problems with blossom end rot.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sonny June 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

If you (and by “you”, I mean the average layperson) were to see such black spots on your tomatoes, how would you distinguish between Blossom End Rot and, say, a fungal infection? To be honest, as someone who’s not an expert in fruit and vegetable disorders, the tomato would seem to me to be stricken with mold…
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Stephanie Suesan Smith June 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm

The tomato rots from the end away from the attachment to the stem in towards that attachment. And tomatoes don’t usually get mold, so that helps.


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