Tomatoes are popular in the home garden and the Extension office receives many calls from gardeners concerning their tomato troubles.
Willie Chance, Extension Vegetable Crops Specialist in Georgia, describes common tomato problems in today’s article.
Blossom-end rot causes the blossom-end of a tomato to become dry, brown and leathery. It’s caused by calcium deficiency in the fruit and can be prevented by the control of nutrition and watering.
Fruit cracking can be caused by periods of fast fruit growth during times of high temperature and moisture supply or by heavy rains following a dry period. Cracking can be lessened by mulching and maintaining an even water supply.
Catfacing is a condition in which the fruit is malformed with brown scars at the blossom-end and sometimes running up the side of the fruit. Cool temperatures cause this at time of pollination and early growth. Control involves planting later or the use of row covers to increase temperature on cool days and nights.
Leafrolling often occurs after the plant sets a heavy load of fruit. Wet soils also can cause leafroll. Leafrolling most often begins on older leaves and moves up the plant. Since heavy pruning can cause leafroll, one control is to prune less heavily. Always plant tomatoes in a well-drained area.
Uneven ripening can be caused by several factors including nutrition, high temperature and disease. Too high nitrogen and low potassium rates can cause uneven ripening. One wall or one portion of the tomato will remain gray or white after the rest of the tomato turns red. The best control is to take a soil sample and fertilize accordingly.
Sunscald appears as a white-blistered area that can turn leathery on the top of the tomato. To control, do not prune heavily and maintain nutrition and pest control so as to provide a good leafy cover for the fruits.
Blossom drop occurs when temperatures exceed or are less than an optimum range. Night temperature between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit provide best blossom set.
More info on tomato disorders is available at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs200.
You may be interested in attending a seminar titled Let’s Talk Tomatoes being taught by Okaloosa County Master Gardener Linda Timothy. This seminar will be held at the Okaloosa County Extension Annex 10-11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 15. The Extension Annex is located at 127 W. Hollywood Boulevard in Fort Walton Beach.
Linda will share her successes in growing tomatoes in Northwest Florida’s challenging environment. Topics covered will include heirloom versus hybrid tomatoes, determinate versus indeterminate tomatoes, container and raised bed gardening and pest control.
There is no cost to attend but space is limited so registration is required. Please call the UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office at (850) 689-5850 to register.
Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent, Okaloosa County, March 8, 2017