“Blossom–end rot” is caused by a lack of calcium in the plant. There are several factors that can interfere with the roots’ ability to absorb calcium from the soil: a lack of calcium in the soil, root–rotting fungi, over watering, under watering, soil compaction and over fertilization are some of them.
The best approach to preventing this problem is to test your soil to keep the pH at the correct level and mulch the plants to help reduce extreme moisture fluctuation in the soil. Regardless of how well you manage your tomato plants, there is still a chance of plants getting rot, but there is a “quick fix” to the problem.
At first signs of rot, pick and discard all affected fruit and spray the plants with calcium chloride. This spray will provide the plant with the needed calcium as it is sprayed on the leaves. Calcium chloride is found locally under various trade names like “Blossom-End Rot Stop” or “Blossom-End Rot Spray.” Although the spray will not take away the damage already done, it will prevent it from occurring again this season when used according to the label directions.
For more information about this or other home vegetable garden problems, call the Walker County Extension Office at 638-2548. Office address is: 102 E. Napier Street in LaFayette.
Norman Edwards is coordinator of Walker County Extension Service.