Common Tomato Disorders

Posted on 17 April 2019

The following tomato problems are caused by environmental stress. Basic prevention of these disorders includes keeping soil evenly moist, mulching, and maintaining mature foliage to shade tomatoes.

Blossom end rot: The blossom end of the fruit blackens and becomes leathery. The problem is caused by a lack of calcium in the fruit due to variable soil moisture conditions. Prevention involves keeping the soil evenly moist. Mulches are helpful in this regard. Fruit is perfectly safe to eat.

Sunscald: This appears as a white or yellowish spot on the part of the fruit facing the sun. To minimize this problem, never remove mature foliage from the plant.

Catfacing: Misshapen, severely deformed fruit, more common on the large fruited or early varieties, resulting from incomplete pollination of the tomato flower due to cold conditions when flowering. To minimize damage plant tomatoes after weather warms, avoid using large fruited varieties, and harden tomato transplants by limiting water, not by lowering temperatures. Catfaced tomatoes are safe to eat.


Fruit Cracking:

Fruit cracking: May be expressed as either concentric cracks around the stem end of the fruit or as radial cracks radiating from the stem scar. Cracking usually occurs after a heavy rainfall following dry conditions. Keep soil evenly moist and avoid fluctuating soil moisture conditions.

All foliage, no fruit: This condition usually results from too much nitrogen in the soil, heavy rainfalls, or air temperatures too high (>90°F) or too low (<55°F) causing flower abortion. Unfortunately, you only have control over the added nitrogen. Avoid using fresh manure or fertilizer with a high nitrogen content (more than three times the level of Phosphorus or Potassium).

Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet FS678 (NJAES)

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