The tomato is one of the most common vegetable crops in our gardens. The crop is grown not only in the open ground, it is also good in the protected ground, thanks to which you can get an earlier harvest of tomatoes. And although care for the plant is not difficult, and the yields are often high, gardeners often face such a problem as tomato apical rot. This disease can cause a lot of damage to the crop. So today we are going to talk about apical rot.
- Causes of tomato apical rot
- How do you know if tomatoes are infected?
- How to treat tomato apical rot?
- Prevention of apical rot
Causes of tomato apical rot
The disease is very active both in greenhouse conditions and in the open ground, causing serious damage to crops.
The disease can affect tomato due to improper agricultural practices. Most often, tomato apical rot is caused by excessive heat outside the window or by excessively hot air in the greenhouse. As a result of increased temperature, tomato plants begin to evaporate moisture as much as possible from the surface of the leaves and also from the trunks of the plants. If the gardener does not understand in time that the temperature is critical and the plants suffer from it, and does not begin to moisten the soil by feeding water through the root system to the plants, they will begin to absorb moisture from the fruits, which by that time are actively forming.
Such, in fact, unnatural processes will lead to the fact that the vast majority of tomato fruit cells simply die off and the top rot of this plant will begin to actively develop. Curing it is quite problematic, but preventing the appearance of this disease is much easier.
But these are not all causes of tomato apical rot. This disease can develop very quickly and actively due to excess or lack of calcium in the soil, a large amount of nitrogen in the soil, and - if the soil has high acidity.
How do you know if tomatoes are infected?
To begin treating tomatoes, you need to know the earliest and often most important signs of apical rot. Most often apical rot affects unripe fruits of the third or second brush. You can usually tell something is wrong by looking at the very tips of the fruit where you can see even with the naked eye completely flat or slightly sunken spots.
In the beginning, when the spots are not yet very large, they are colored in dark greenish color, but with strong development of the disease, and accordingly, with the growth of spots, their coloration becomes grayish-brown, and as soon as the spores mature, ready to fly far away, their coloration becomes black.
As soon as fruits are affected by apical rot, their growth is immediately slowed and their deformation begins. Just a couple of days later, the skin of the fruit will start to dry out and then crack. That's when these cracks and penetrates the rotten infection and begins to actively develop there. Alternaria fungi usually settle in the cracks and their activities cause tomato flesh to become literally black and begin to rot rapidly.
It is interesting that tomato fruits affected by apical rot usually show their color (ripen) in typical varieties much faster than their healthy counterparts, but immediately after ripening they fall to the ground. Such fruits cannot be eaten fresh, they cannot be used for processed products, even if you cut off the affected area of the fruit, and, of course, you should not select seeds from them for further sowing next year.
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How to treat tomato apical rot?
If preventive measures have not helped and tomatoes were infected with apical rot, the first thing to do is to pick all affected tomatoes and burn them. Infected leaves and shoots should also go to the furnace.
With regard to the treatment of tomato apical rot in the greenhouse and in the open ground, there are no fundamental differences. In most cases, as soon as the soil and then the plant are saturated with calcium to the full, the apical rot slows down dramatically and then stops completely.
A very quick way to saturate tomato plants with calcium is to apply foliar feedings, for which calcium sulfate is the best. This fertilizer does not contain harmful chlorine, it is well soluble in water. So it's enough to pour a teaspoon of fertilizer per bucket of water, stir everything thoroughly, fill up the sprayer and plants can be processed, trying, of course, to hit the affected fruits first, but do not forget about the other parts of the plant.
Because such treatment must be conducted in the evening, and if the day will rain, the next evening treatment must be repeated.
If you want to accelerate as much as possible the arrival of calcium in the plants, you can add a little common boric acid to the solution, for example, for ten liters of solution you need only 9 grams of boric acid.
To completely get rid of apical rot on tomatoes, a single treatment is definitely not enough, they will need to be carried out every week, combining foliar feedings with abundant watering of the soil, watering under the root.
There are also quite effective folk remedies to combat apical rot, such as treatment of tomato plants with an extract of wood ash or soot. To do this, pour a full glass of wood ash or soot into a larger container and pour a liter of steep boiling water, then let stand for 24 hours, then strain and dilute ten times with water. It is desirable to add 15 g of soda to the solution and treat plants with it every week.
Top rot prevention
Prophylactic measures concern any disease, and tomato top rot is no exception here. Prevention is much better than the use of drugs. The complex of preventive measures is quite extensive, and it begins with the preparation of seeds for sowing in the ground, and ends with harvesting tomatoes.
But before you start treating seeds with appropriate methods, we advise to buy new varieties that are resistant to diseases and pests, including drought and excessive moisture. Buying a variety whose fruit ripens early and has a large size and maximum growth vigor you risk the most, because such a plant needs more nutrients, and the surface of the fruit itself is larger and the probability of even a small crack forming on it is much higher.
Now about the disinfection of the seed material: usually tomato seeds are etched in a solution of "manganese" or iron sulfate.
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Manganese wax is better prepared stronger - preferably make a 2.5-3% solution of this "drug", then place the seeds in a gauze bag and keep them in the solution for thirty minutes. After this time, the tomato seeds should be washed in running water for a couple of minutes and dried.
If your choice fell on the composition of iron vitriol, then dilute it in the following proportion: first, a gram of the preparation dilute in a liter of water, then place the seeds in a gauze bag for a day in this composition, and then, without washing the seeds with water, bring them to a loose state (by drying).
Prevention related to the preparation of the land
In order to protect against possible attacks of rot, which will lead to the formation of apex rot of tomato fruits, it is necessary to lime the soil well with chalk or dolomite flour, and you can even put out lime - the latter, as you know, perfectly reduces soil acidity. Per square meter you need 50 g of chalk, 300 g of dolomite flour or 200 grams of lime.
Then, already when planting tomato seedlings in the ground, in each hole should be placed half a cup of wood ash or wood soot.
Water in the prevention of tomato apical rot?
Prevention is not only putting the right elements in the ground or dressing the seeds, but also such a simple measure as watering, though timely and correct. The fact is that in drought, the roots of tomato plants stop assimilating calcium, there is a deficit of it, and this is where all the trouble comes from.
Gardeners have noticed an interesting feature: tomato plants better assimilate calcium at night, so watering is always carried out in the evening, so that overnight the plant is properly saturated with calcium available in the ground. And so that even in the morning hours the moisture still remains in the soil, it is necessary to mulch the top layer with humus (a layer of a couple of centimeters) after each irrigation.
Closing remarks. So, if you have apical rot on your tomatoes, you should by no means panic. We have given comprehensive answers, where it comes from, how to avoid its occurrence and how to combat it with chemical and folk remedies. Now you, or to be more precise, the tomatoes growing on your plot, will definitely not be afraid of tomato apical rot.
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