Blossom End Rot
Hi, my name is: Blossom End Rot
Describe yourself: Firstly, let me just say that I am not a disease, a fungus, a virus or any of that! I
am a disorder… got that! I live at the blossom end of fruits, and appear brown, tough and sunken. I
look water soaked, and honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
Hobbies: Spreading the love… all over your fruit, especially tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants,
watermelons and zucchinis! Destroying your crop!
Likes: People who don’t water properly, like, you know when you water and then don’t water for like
two weeks and come back and water again? I love that! I love gardens that are waaaayyyy over-
fertilised with nitrogen and potassium, really acidic soils and calcium deficiencies!
Dislikes: Good pH, good watering practices, mulches, wind breaks to stop plants drying out, soil
with great water holding capacity.
You’ll know you’ve met me when: Oh sugar, you’ll know. If one end of your fruit looks revolting,
brown and kind squishy… you’ve met me! Oh, and if there is little hairs on it, that’s still me, but I
have bought one of my fungal friends along!
Old School Control Methods: Dumping truckloads of chelated calcium into the garden.
Breaking up ain’t hard to do… if you
Protect crops with suitable windbreaks.s
If the soil pH is below 5.5, add lime before planting.s
If the soil drains poorly, apply gypsum (calcium sulphate).s
On light sandy soils, apply organic matter such as poultry manure before planting, to increase thes
moisture-holding ability of the soil and reduce water stress in hot weather.
Follow a well-balanced fertiliser program. Apply low applications of fertilisers frequently to limits
their salting effect.
On sandy soils with high levels of salt, increase watering to leach salts.s
Water plants adequately, especially at fruiting. Apply more water on hot days.s
Picture: Elaine Shallue (SGA)