Q: My tomatoes have scarring on them. They are hard and don’t fully ripen. What is wrong with them?
A: After bringing in examples of your tomatoes, it was easy to identify this physiological problem called cat face. Physiological conditions are caused by weather or climate and therefore no application of pesticides is recommended. The symptoms are malformation and scarring at the fruit’s blossom. This scarring can coincide with empty cavities toward the center of the fruit. Brown bands of scar tissue usually are located between the swelling tissues. Some cultivars are more likely to show cat facing than others, such as the large, beef tomatoes or some Celebrity varieties. Prolonged unseasonably cool weather may be one of the causes and we had an unseasonably cool spring this year. Excessive nitrogen fertilizer may also aggravate the problem. Cat face also may follow exposure to growth-hormone-type herbicides such as 2,4-D. It is always wise to avoid spraying herbicides in the vicinity of vegetable or flower gardens.