blossom end rot

Berkeley, CA(Zone 9a)

May I have opinions on what causes blossom end rot?

Westbrook, CT(Zone 6a)

While I'm not one, I do have several books by experts that discuss tomato problems from which I summarize:
BER is a result of Calcium moving from the fruit back into the plant and is caused by stresses like too much fertilizer, uneven moisture, sudden drought, drying winds and too acidic or heavy, wet or salty soil. Some varieties never seem to be affected, others, especially paste/sauce types, are more likely to be afflicted.

There seems to be no magic cure. Mulching, regular (not excessive) watering and keeping the soil in the proper pH range (6.2-6.8) are recommended for control. A once popular treatment, applying extra calcium (lime) to the soil (or the plant), is no longer advised, except to adjust the pH.

My own experience is that usually only the earlier fruits suffer from BER. If a variety shows a lot of BER during the main season, I switch to another cultivar next year. There are several web sites devoted to this problem, for example:

Hope this helps.

This message was edited Aug 31, 2015 6:34 AM

Saylorsburg, PA(Zone 6a)

If this link works it includes the account written by Dr. Carolyn Male on Blossom End Rot. A must read:

I just checked the link and it worked for me. Hope this helps.

This message was edited Sep 1, 2015 12:44 PM

Batesburg, SC(Zone 8a)

In my soil, I find adding the lime at planting time works.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I've had very little trouble with BER. When I've seen it, it's been in the first few tomatoes of the season. My area is very alkaline, my garden is less so do to years of adding OM, so adding lime would not be advised. It's not even sold around here.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

I fixed the uneven watering and it fixed the problem ( the next year )

I would water....wait til almost dry and the water.... ( I hate watering )

Now I keep that hose there and every day...water.

My plants are in raised pots - already a disadvantage. And so maybe those with tomatoes in the ground have a different experience

Allen Park, MI(Zone 6a)

When I have BER I have found that dissolving 6*-8 calcium tablets in a gallon of water and watering it in solves the problem for the next round of fruits.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

I, too, had my tomatoes in various containers (18-in decorative3 container, 5-gallon shop buckets and Earthboxes): NINE DIFFERENT VARIETIES(dang caps lock!). I had Earely , Mid and Late Season; 1-inch cherry, 4 and 10=12 ounce tomato plants; determinate and indeterminant, as well as heirloom and hybrid plants.

Observations re BER (I had lime already mixed into the growing medium before planting.) Two plants, both Hybrid, Determinant, Late Season and in the same Earthbox) had their production affedcted by BER. BER hit one variety severely, destroying all its tomato production until LaTE Season (Bush Big Boy, 10-11 ounce tomato) while its partner in that Earthbox was moderately affecteed and recoved earlier (Ace 55, 12 ounce tomato). The two varieties in the other Earthbox (a hybrid and an heirloom plant) were barely affecteed, with 1-2 fruit with BER. NONE of the other plants were affecteed at all.

After my readings (extension publications from various state universities) about BER, I only discarded affedcted fruit and waited. . . the two affected plants recovered eventually. I had read that BER was the result of the afflicted fruit's inability to take up and distribute calcium properly; the plant (stems and leaves) had sufficient calcium for the fruit . . . .the plant/its fruit would grow out of theis condition; some varieties were more prone to BER than others.

I have been debating on replacing Bush Big Boy in my line-up next year (which varieties to grow); I'm still undecided.

Any thoughts.v . . personal experience wsith this variety, please; the online reviews are few and full of praise.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I've never tried that one.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Paulgro, do you mean regular calcium tablets like a person would take as a supplement?

I had problems in the past with BER but for the last few years I have used something called the Mater Moat. It makes for even watering and it seems to have taken care of the problem.

Allen Park, MI(Zone 6a)

Yes, just regular calcium
. Get them at the dollar store

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Thankyou. I think I have some in the cabinet.

Sidney, OH(Zone 6a)

I grow all of my tomatoes in containers, and I water them at the soil level every day until water leaks out of the bottom. Calcium uptake is reduced if moisture is inconsistent, so I never let them dry out. Once a week, I also add milk (about 1/4 cup per plant) to the well-watered plants. I've found that adding milk greatly reduces the incidence of blossom end rot. I buy the cheapest milk I can find and freeze it in water or pop bottles so it doesn't turn rancid before it's needed. It doesn't take long to thaw in hot, humid weather.

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