Disease of the Month - Blossom End Rot

 
  Hort Snacks - July 2017
Download 902K pdf file ("HortSnacks-July2017.pdf")PDF
(902K)
     Subscribe to our free E-Newsletter, "Agri-News" (formerly RTW This Week)Agri-News
This Week
     Hort Snacks HomeHort Snacks Home
 
 
 
 Crops Affected: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant

Disease Cycle / Conditions Favouring Disease Development:

  • Not caused by a pathogen
  • Physiological disorder caused by a localized deficiency of calcium in the fruit
  • Typically linked to growing conditions that result in uneven and/or interrupted uptake of calcium
    • Drought, hot/dry conditions and/or fluctuations in water supply
    • Other factors can also influence incidence of BER
      • Rapid plant growth
      • High soil nitrogen and magnesium levels
      • Saline soils
      • Root damage
      • High relative humidity
  • Not necessarily related to soil-available levels of calcium, merely the ability of the plant to take up sufficient calcium to meet developing fruit needs
Symptoms:
  • Often starts on younger fruit (1/3 developed), but symptoms may develop on any stage of fruit development
  • Light brown patches appear at the blossom end of the fruit, or occasionally on the sides
    • Over time, patches darken and become sunken as tissues die
    • Sunken areas can affect as much as half of the fruit
  • Tissues may be infected by secondary pathogens, resulting in fruit rots
Photo by hort.uwex.edu/articles/blossom-end-rot/

Management:
  • Ensure that plants maintain a healthy, even growth and steady uptake of water
    • Irrigation will allow water availability to be more consistent
  • Avoid root damage and encourage strong and deep root growth
    • Ensure that root development and health is maintained to ensure that the plant is able to take up calcium as needed
  • Practices that promote moisture conservation in the soil (e.g. mulches) can be beneficial towards reducing BER
  • If calcium levels are insufficient or in question, the application of calcium-rich fertilizers or amendments, or the application of foliar calcium prior to symptom development can be effective
    • On the Canadian prairies, the majority of soils were derived from calcium-rich parent materials, therefore deficiencies in soil calcium are unusual
 
 
 
 
Share via AddThis.com
For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
This information published to the web on June 29, 2017.