Tomato Cracking & BER Garden Guide

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Common Tomato Disorders and Prevention

These are both common disorders, not diseases that can afflict tomatoes. The good news is that these disorders are both preventable and avoidable if you follow the proper steps. Cracking and Blossom end rot is caused by similar environmental & growing conditions. Both are discussed below.

Variety matters

Because cracking fruits are so common, many varieties have been bred to resist cracking. However, even with resistant varieties, you must still provide proper care to help prevent this disorder.

  • Choose crack-resistant varieties. (See list below)
  • Water consistently. Especially when fruits are transitioning from green to ripe.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist, especially early in the season.
  • Maintain proper mulch, at least 2-3 inches over the root zone to help retain even soil moisture.
  • Splitting issues are most common from soil that goes from relatively dry, to quite wet in a short period.

Blossom End Rot (BER)

  • Blossom end rot most typically affects the first fruits of the season. Although it can occur later in the season depending on variety and the weather.
  • BER susceptibility is reduced as plants mature. If a problem persists, have a soil test done.
  • BER is caused by inconstant soil moisture, but it can be made worse when calcium is lacking.

Prevent fluctuations in soil moisture, especially from dry to very wet. For example, apply water prior to predicted heavy rain events. Counterintuitive, but this can help.

Fertilize consistently with a completely water-soluble, tomato-specific food with added calcium.

Avoid nutrient imbalances by limiting excessive amounts of other elements like Magnesium, which is found in Epsom salts. Magnesium excess interferes with Calcium uptake.

Always check and maintain soil pH in the proper range of 6.0 to 6.5 for tomatoes.

Determinate tomato varieties are less susceptible to BER than indeterminate types.

Tomato Fertilizers

Crack & Blossom End Rot Resistant Varieties