This news item expired on Thursday, July 31, 2014 so the information below could be outdated or incorrect.
Blossom-end rot is a fruit disorder that causes the blossom end of tomato, pepper and watermelon fruit to rot. The first symptom is a slight water-soaked area on or near the blossom end of the fruit. The affected area soon darkens and enlarges in a constantly widening circle and develops a tough, leathery feel. It is usually worse on the first fruit cluster but can be a problem throughout the season.
It occurs when there are extremes in soil moisture resulting in calcium deficiency in the fruit. When rain or irrigation follows a dry spell, the roots cannot take up calcium fast enough to keep up with rapid fruit development. Blossom-end rot also occurs if the delicate feeder roots are damaged during transplanting or by deep soil cultivation near the plants.
Water regularly or mulch to keep moisture levels consistent.
Maintain soil pH 6 – 6.5 and adequate calcium levels using dolomitic lime.
Avoid the temptation to apply too much fertilizer. This inhibits calcium uptake.
For more information, call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.