Treatment for blossom-end rot?

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Hello, could somebody please tell me the name of the commercial soluble calcium product that you use as a douse to stop blossom-end rot?

I know how to prevent it, and don't have any myself but a friend has some plants that are showing signs, and the name of the stuff has slipped my mind.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

I use a product called Blossom-End Rot that I order from Gardens Alive.
Have used it for several years and it works for me.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

dyzzy, how do you prevent it?

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

There is no product that can cure BER and I'm linking to an earlier thread about it and please read my post, the third one down;

Blossom End Rot is sold at many sites and what it's all about is spraying some Ca++ on the fruits to try and get some to the interior to stop interior BER or the most common symptom at the blossom end of the fruits.

There has been some limited success, very limited indeed, if very small immature fruits are sprayed since at that stage the epidermis of the fruit is still permeable, but as the fruits mature the epidermis is no longer permeable. If it were every time it rained the fruits would explode. LOL

Many think they've accomplished something by using it but most of the time all it means is that the plants have matured to the point where they can withstand the various stresses that lead to BER which are many indeed and I outlines them in that article as well.

It used to be thought that Ca++ alone, or lack of it, was what indiced BER but in the link above I explained why that's not true.


Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

I just found a more recent article that I wrote and someone copied it into a BER thread at another message site and I was so glad b'c I'd lost it. So I cut and pasted it to to an e-mail and saved it. I don't know how much overlap there is with the one I linked to above, which was from here at DG b'c I didn't take the time to reread the DG one.


With BER there is NO problem with absorption of Ca++ though the roots. The problem is maldistribution within the plant that can be induced by a number of stresses which include uneven delivery of water, too much N, growing in too rich soil, too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry you name it.
As the plants mature they can better handle the streses that can induce BER so usually it goes away.

The two exceptions are first, if the soil has NO Ca++ as confirmed with a soil test, and that's a rare condition, and second, if the soil is too acidic in which Case Ca++ is bound in the soil.

Again, adding lime, egg shells and on and on can not and will not prevent BER b'c absorption of Ca++ thru the roots is OK.

Paste tomatoes are especially susceptible to BER and I think someone in a post above mentioned that.

The old information about BER being caused solely by lack of soil Ca++ has been shown to be wrong with research that's been done in the last 20 years or so, but it's going to take another generation before the real story gets into books, websites, magazines, etc. Most of the better websites already have the correct information.

BER affects not only tomatoes, but peppers, squash, cabbage, cauliflower, etc., and it's a huge multimillion dollar problem for the industry, which is WHY all that reasearch was done. For instance, when tissues were taken from a plant that has BER fruits and was assayed for Ca++, the normal level of Ca++ was found, it just wasn't getting to the blossom end of fruits. And there's also a condition called internal BER where the fruits look fine, no evidence of BER externally, but when you cut open the fruit the inside is black )

Hope that helps .

Betsy was the person who had copied and saved my post and at the end of it wrote the following with which I agree:

So, what it comes down too is: Tums do not work, nor do egg shells, milk, and other "home remedy" treatments. Foliar spray only works in some cases. Time and good management practices work best.


Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Carolyn, thank you for continuing your BER education, I appreciate the time you take to post all this information - repeatedly.

BER has never bothered me, I just ignore it, and it goes away with time

For me, that did not happen on the San Marzano's nor the Black Plums. Both roma types. After 2.5 months of growth, I had what looked like dozens of bright red perfect SM fruits. BER nearly every single one. I finally ripped the two plants out last weekend.

BER is said to occur when there is uneven watering, drought, heavy rainfall, excessive nitrogen fertilization, rapid plant growth or root pruning during cultivation, high winds and rapid temperature changes.

I bolded what I think happened in my garden this season. I was very careful to keep the beds an even moisture, using a moisture meter, because I've heard most often that BER is a result of erratic watering. However, the soil was very rich (a fresh load of sandy loam as well as a fresh load of good compost) thinking this was a good thing, so that may have contributed as well. and Mother Nature was certainly erratic on the temperature issue. Went from a 100 day to an overnight of 50 within days of each other.

I'll try both the San Marzano and Black Plum again in my fall garden and see if I get better results. But I'm hedging that bet with a couple of hearts. :-}

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

This only applies to plum type...

My suspect is "rapid plant growth." I've noticed that those plants I set in ground that is not over fertilized/watered don't get BER but produce far fewer fruit. So it would seem that one either encourages tomatoes to grow fast and set lots of fruit and risk BER, or go the slow route and get no BER and fewer fruit.

More experimentation on my part is needed...

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

hmmmm, interesting. I sure got lots of fruit, couldn't use any of it unfortunately.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)


another morning of throwing BER infested tomatoes in the compost!

These are "Monica" which set loads of fruit, but what's the good when they develop BER!

I usually grow "Viva Italia" as my main crop, but decided to try something new this year

The row of "Viva Italia" has fewer fruit, but (so far) no BER

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

bee, what's the pH of the soil? I use a cheap prong type tester, not rocket science but I think it's close enough for the home gardener. Mine is pinging at slightly over 7, which is too high I think. I plan to add some sulphur to bring it down and will try the San Marzano's and Black Plum again in the fall planting. I hate BER!!!

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

A pH of 7 is not too high. I just did a Google search for someone on the range of pH's that tomatoes like, you can do that as well, and I loved the one person who said anything below 7 and said he threw away his pH meter years ago. LOL

In general tomatoes are very adaptable to pH conditions with most places saying around the high 6's or so, but it's also good to remember that there are two conditions that can lead to BER.

One is if the soil has NO Ca++ and that can be determined only by a good soil test, and the other one is if the soil is TOO acidic in which case Ca++ can be bound in the soil, and one can easily remedy that situation by making it more alkaline.

The reason that so many folks everywhere do grow tomatoes in the backyard, or wherever, is b'c tomatoes are hardy beasts, if you will, and can take and deal with the many weather and other insults thrown at them.


Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I used to own a pH meter, but found it far from accurate. Soil tests sent to labs only give results for the small area of soil that is sent in. Organic soils can vary from area to area. The implements used to take the sample must be clean or the results will be thrown off. I have had (reliable) gardeners tell me that samples sent to one lab have given different results than the same sample sent to another lab.

All in all - I'm not a proponent of soil tests.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

much thanks to u all on discussion of BER .. i add alot of compost..shredded leaves to
my garden in fall..spade in and let break down over winter..
last yr i had more BER than i usually do.. but..i was a bad gardener last yr and didnt
keep up with my watering on my tomatoes.. bad me!!! LOL
this yr.. my plants are growing at a good rate.. ive been using a weak solution of N
but a higher level of P and K.. i have alot of flowers..of course.. and i did dig in rock phosphate
in spring.. with agricultural limestone..
?? any data on BER connection with P and K levels??
thanks to all.. much thanks to you carolyn!!!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

tropicalnut777 - keep us updated with your progress.

Are you growing plum type or globe tomatoes. I don't have a problem with BER on any of my globe tomatoes. It's the plum-type that drive me crazy with BER!

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

only heirlooms..and globes..
ive been waiting for some sign of stress on the plants/ blooms/fruit.. but so
far ..good going..
we have had unbelievably HOT weather..
dont think it got above 100F..but still.. 100 mid june???
this is more like west texas weather than northern utah ..
if things go well..omg.. i am going to have a TON of tomatoes.. LOL
hows your weather down in NC???

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

tropicalnut777 - The weather has been variable. Some days in the mid-80's others in the mid to upper 90's. Friday is supposed to be in the 100's.

Last year I turned on the a/c July 15th - this year - I turned it on yesterday! I'm fed up with summer already!

I'm hoping tropical storm "Debby" will dump some rain on us - we sure could use it!

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

honeybee.. wow.. 90sF and humidity on top of that..
i lived in houston,tx yrs ago.. heat wasnt what got ya..was the 90+ humidity..
things sure did grow fast though..LOL
wish we could get some of that rain up here!!!!!!!!!!!
hot and dry..we have so many fires going on around here.. :(
?? with BER i was also wondering in line with expanding carolyns discussion
on Ca++ has anyone had better success using greensand??
ive used it before.. and am this yr.. i dug it in rows where i put my tomatoes..
?? thoughts??

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

tropicalnut777 - I add greensand to fertilizer. Don't know if it does any good.

Pittsburgh, PA(Zone 6a)

I tend to have BER problems with Roma tomatoes but no other types which goes along with the paste tomatoes comment from an earlier response. It sucks because I rely on a large harvest of these to make sauce to get through the winter. I really need to keep on my watering schedule, I am almost 100% sure that is always my problem. It has been so dry lately here so even my rain barrels are empty and I am back to using the chlorine filled house water. ugh.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Paste types don't always mean roma shaped, far from it and here's a few of that type, non-roma shaped pastes that in my experience are less likely to develop BER and also have good taste, which most paste tomatoes don't.

In fact most of my tomato friends switched many years ago to using the best tasting tomatoes for sauce especially, and those would be most heart varieties which have dense flesh and few seeds and same for beefsteak shaped varieties.

Mama Leone
Martino's Roma ( OK, one roma shaped one)
Sarnowski Polish plum, a long red one

And soom to be back and available again are Tadesse and Wuhib, if all turns out well this season. Right now no seed site is listing the TRUE Tadesse and Wuhib has been hard to find. These two varieties were brought back to me from a former student, Tadesse Wuhib, who found them at the farmer's market in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. And there are several folks involved in a project elsewhere who are growing out 2004 seeds of both and getting germination and the plants are looking fine.

All of these that I've mentioned in this post can be checked for specs and seed sources at Tatiana's Tomato data base which I've linked to many times here at DG or you can just Google it up and when on the main page scroll down to where it says search the alphabetical way.


North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

How about Viva Italia? I planted these for the first time this year but no tomatoes yet. I read that they have better taste than Roma.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

newyorkrita -

How about Viva Italia?

They sure don't get as much blossom end rot as other plum-types that I have tried.

I have an ongoing experiment with some VI's - will wait until season's end to share details, but so far, so good ^_^

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Well, I looked and I was wrong, I do have some little green tomatoes on my Viva Italias. I was wondering why there weren't any tomatoes set yet but I guess I just hadn't looked hard enough. I really was looking for something with more flavor than Roma. Not worried about if they set slightly less or not as they should produce plenty for me. Plus I have lots of other tomatoes too and have cooked down just about any types for sauce before.

I haven't had Romas lately so maybe I just don't remember but I don't recall any great amount of blossom end rot on them.

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

Just wanted to thank Carolyn for the information on non-Roma paste tomatoes. Today I picked my first non-BER roma-type (Muriel) after tossing two dozen nasty fruits. The Bella Rosa plants going interspersed with them (lost my labels, but only growing the 2 types this year) have started ripening and none have been afflicted. Since I've used up all my left over seed this year, am thinking about next year's crop and want a few different kinds to try.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Cybrczch - I would be very interested to know which non-Roma paste tomatoes you grew that did not have BER, and where you purchaed the seeds. I'm tired of throwing away rotten tomatoes!

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Honey, there are several sources for Muriel F1 seeds and here's links to two of them:

... well one source and another one is Reimers but I don't like them so didn't save the URL. LOL

At other seed sites offering this variety it says best for the US SE, and for market gardeners and home growers alike.

But the seed source is NOT the issue it's all the variables we've talked about in this thread that can lead to BER developing. It makes no difference if a variety is OP or F1.

I can have some varieties that do develop BER and others growing the same varieties see no BER at all, and vice versa. Different geographic locations, different weather, and on and on.

Carolyn, who notes that she's never seen BER on I think the varieties she posted above, and those would be Heidi, Mama Leone, Martino's Roma and Sarnowski Polish Plum, and that's growing them for seed stock in several different years. And sure enough someone will come along and say they always get BER on one or more of the ones I just mentioned.LOL

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

That answer is NONE
I am growing Muriel paste-type this year. So far my tally this year from my half dozen or so plants:
Ripe and green BER-afflicted fruit = 50 (have started inspecting and tossing any that have BER why waste the plants energy on them)
Ripe, non-BER afflicted fruit = 1 - yes, just one so far. And since I haven't sliced into him yet, he could still have BER hidden inside that I don't know about but I don't want to chance it (knock on wood, salt over shoulder, rub horseshoes)

My globe tomato (aka slicing tomato) plants (Bella Rosa, have 3 of them) are producing nice tomatoes.

I came here looking for good paste tomatoes that are not afflicted with BER as much. It isn't Muriel, I can tell you that!

I will be perusing Carolyn's list of varieties for next year's crop. Throw some Nebraska growing weather at 'em, see how well they do :)

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

Of course this evening I managed to jinx myself! But the other way around, a beautiful large Bella Rosa tomato from the top, black nastiness from the bottom!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Cybrczch - thanks for your input. Like you, I have yet to find a paste tomato that did not develop BER. I grew "Monica" this year, and more than half the crop was thrown away with BER. I, too, remove the offending fruit while they are small.

Despite this, I have managed to freeze enough sauce to last until next year. To my surprise, "Monica" is setting more fruit! I gave the plants some fertilizer yesterday morning, and we had a good rain shower last evening, so I'm hopeful that I'll get enough to share with the neighbors before winter arrives.

Except for the BER, these grew according to Johnny's description.

(Judy) Simpsonville, SC(Zone 8a)

Been growing veggies for 23 years in 3 different states and BER seemed to take the first few tomatoes on every plant, hit or miss. But a few years ago I met an elderly gardener who gave me a tip that honestly eliminated BER from my garden, if it is used before plants set fruit: wood ashes in the soil around each plant, a generous amount. I make my own ashes from our fire pit, burn branches from spring cleanup. Dont know the science behind it but for three years no BER since I've been doing this.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

scbuttercup - I can see why that would be a good tip. Wood ashes provide potash. Unfortunately, I don't have access to any :(

Maybe someone knows of a good substitute for wood ashes?

Shullsburg, WI(Zone 5a)


Wood ashes could also change the soil ph!


Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

to early for me to worry about BER here..LOL havent even
planted the seed yet..:)
but im dreamin.. :)
much thanks to all of u..especially carolyn.. tons of good constructive
info !!!
i know im stretching the concept..but i find with gardening..theres more
that lends to success..and non success in growing whatever..and its up
to find how to bring as much of that into our gardening practices..
ive ..sigh..killed my fair share of plants.... and ive learned from the experiences..
with many of u in the USA south already going strong with tomatoes..hope
you post your thoughts..

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Sulphur. I plan to add some sulphur to the soil where the Viva Italia's will go. A reliable garden source said this worked for her and I guess I won't know till I try. I lost A LOT of tomatoes last year to BER, while the non-roma or plum were not affected. I think it's prevalent in certain types and something in my soil or my own gardening behavior causes the problem. Since I treated all the plants the same, I'll go with trying to fix the soil before changing my behavior (watering, ferrtilizing). I'm a'hopin' for some Viva Italia's for sauce late summer!

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Mary, I have no idea why sulfur would have any effect on the development of BER.

The only thing I can think of has to do with soil pH and if the soil is too acidic Ca++ is bound in the soil, but then sulfur would only make the soil more acidic.

So you know what your soil pH is? I wouldn't be adding S to the soil without first knowing what the soil pH is.

Almost ANY variety can develop BER b'c there are so many variables that can induce it, as I wrote above. So not just the so called paste varieties although they are, generally, more susceptible.


Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

hmmm, interesting. I sent a copy of our conversation to my 'reliable source'. Thanks for the feedback Carolyn. Generally my pH is around 6.5 to 7 but I'm just using one of those cheap prong testers.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

The best tomato plant I had last year was a volunteer that survived three spring frosts. It grew taller than I am. I never fertilized or watered it. Somehow it managed to survive triple digit temperatures and still gave good-tasting fruit. It grew out of the compost I had added to the garden.

Sometimes the best thing to do is -- nothing . LOL

I allowed some of the fruit to fall to the ground - perhaps I'll get a repeat this summer - although I doubt it.

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