Understanding Physiological Diseases in Plants – Blossom End Rot in Tomatoes.

Pest and disease are the two words we get acquainted with in gardening. There is another important word we need to be aware – and that is ‘Physiological Disorder.’

There are some common physiological disorders which are very particular to crops. Ex. Blossom End Rot in tomato, tip burn in lettuce, bitter pit of apple due to calcium deficiency, whiptail in cauliflower due to molybdenum deficiency and many others.

In today’s article, we will cover a critical but common physiological disorder, Blossom End Rot a.k.a B.E.R which commonly impacts tomatoes and bell peppers.

Understanding B.E.R.:
To understand B.E.R., we need to split this disorder name to get its meaning

–          Blossom (=Flower; later develops into fruit)

–          End (=basal region)

–          Rot

A dark color spot at the blossom end of the fruit represents Blossom End Rot.

Though also found in Capsicum, It’s the most common physiological disorder of tomato. It is a disorder; you will notice in your garden if your tomato plants are deficit in Calcium, a secondary macronutrient. Other crops which get affected by B.E.R. are Chilli, Brinjal, Watermelon and Squashes. Blossom End Rot occurs when there is a wide fluctuation in water management as the calcium uptake and movement activity reduce in plants.

Is BER only caused by Calcium Deficiency?
Though in a high majority of cases, calcium deficiency is the culprit, still, in a few cases, BER may occur due to other causes like.

  1. Supply of higher concentration of nitrogenous fertilizers
  2. Higher salt levels in growing media
  3. Damage to roots while doing any operations in the garden
  4. pH (too high or too low) can also be a reason

BER Progression:

It starts with a small, depressed and water-soaked lesions (air spaces under the epidermis tissue of fruit become filled with liquid) on the blossom end of the fruit. There will be water-soaked spots. As fruit develop, size of the spot will increase, giving a black/brown patchy appearance on the fruit and eventually rots and becomes unfit for consumption.

Is it a serious problem to consider?
May not be when you lose 5-10 fruits from a big lot. But you must be cautious when you grow fewer plants in the garden. Moreover, if the severity of the disorder is less, you can trim off the affected part, and rest of the vegetable can be consumed.

How to manage this disorder?
To solve for Calcium deficiency, you can increase the amount of calcium in the nutrient plan of your crop. We have one such product in our Organic Origin range which is called Seaweed Bloom Booster. Apart from increasing yield, It also provides additional Calcium to the plants during the boom phase and prevents against Blossom End Rot.

Apart from solving for Calcium deficiency, you can follow the following measures to mitigate the chances of developing Blossom End Rot in your plants.

  • Do water the plants at regular intervals.
  • Maintain neutral pH in the medium.
  • Use nitrate nitrogen, instead of ammoniacal nitrogen.
  • Do not damage the roots, while doing intercultural operations (hoeing)

Kindly check for the BER in your garden if you are growing tomatoes. Do not simply spray insecticides/fungicides thinking it’s a disease. Be aware of the physiological disorder.

Happy Gardening!!

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