The cause of blossom-end rot is insufficient calcium uptake by the plant. Several factors 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 with your tomatoes 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 having blossom-end rot. But if you do have the condition, there is a quick fix to this problem.
At the first signs of this problem, home gardeners should spray their tomato plants with calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is found locally under the 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.
If you have this problem with your tomatoes, make sure to take steps to prevent it from recurring next year. This could be anything from correcting the soil pH to modifying your watering practices.
For more information about this or other home vegetable garden problems, call the Walker County Extension Office at (706) 638-2548 or stop by and see us at 102 E. Napier St., LaFayette.
Norman Edwards is coordinator of Walker County Extension Service.
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