Blossom End Rot

Class: Physiological Disorder

Common Name

BER, Blossom End Rot

Potential Hosts

Tomatoes, peppers, apples, eggplants, and watermelon

Who am I?

Blossom end rot is a name given for a disfiguration in the fruits of several plants and is a common physiological disorder. It starts as a small, wet looking spot at the blossom end of the fruit. Over time, it increases the surface area it covers, eventually leading the part of the fruit affected to darken with brown or black color and become stiff. It is not a disease nor is it a result of insect activity.

Blossom end rot happens when something goes wrong in the growth process. Part of the cells within the fruit stop functioning, turn black, harden, and eventually die. The occurrence is usually blamed on a shortage of calcium, but things are a bit more complex. While it is true that fruits that exhibit blossom end rot symptoms are found to be low on calcium, soil calcium shortage is not always the cause for this disorder. The problem is more often related to the mobility and availability of calcium inside the plant.

Blossom end rot can occur at any time, but tends to be more common at the beginning of the growth stage, appearing on the first fruits of the season.

Control measures

Most of the time, the situation does not require intervention from the grower. Blossom end rot will disappear naturally and won't show on fruits later in the season.

With that being said, sometimes there is an actual calcium deficiency in the soil. In such a case, fertilizing with calcium will help reduce calcium deficiency.

Foliar sprays of calcium can help to some extent. Although, it will not solve the problem permanently and might require several iterations.

Calcium travels in plants via the xylem, moving with the transpirational water flow from the roots up the plant. So keeping the soil adequately moistened ensures a balanced and consistent water flow inside plants.

Caution and careful notice should be taken when using any plant protection products (insecticides, fungicides and Herbicides). It is the grower’s sole responsibility to keep track after the legal uses and permissions with respect to the laws in their country and destination markets. Always read the Instructions written on the label and in any case of contradiction work with accordance to the product label. Keep in mind that information written on the label usually apply only to local markets. Pests control products intended for organic farming are generally considered to be less effective in comparison to conventional product. And so one must keep in mind that when dealing with organic, biologic and, to some extent, small number of conventional chemical products, a complete eradication of a pest or a disease will often require several iterations of a specific treatment or combination of treatments.

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