DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//SoftQuad Software//DTD HoTMetaL PRO 5.0::19981217::extensions to HTML 4.0//EN" "hmpro5.dtd"> Cucurbit Family Plant Problems - Blossom-End Rot

Cucurbit Family Plant Problems - Blossom-End Rot

Blossom-end rot on melon.

A watersoaked, sunken spot develops on the blossom ends (opposite the stem ends) of squash and watermelons. The spot enlarges and turns brown to black. Mold may grow on the spot.

ANALYSIS: Blossom-end rot
This disorder of squash, watermelons, tomatoes, and peppers is caused by a lack of calcium in the developing fruits. This lack is the result of slowed growth and damaged roots caused by any of several factors.

  • Extreme fluctuations in soil moisture.
  • Rapid early-season plant growth followed by extended dry weather.
  • Excessive rain that smothers root hairs.
  • Excess soil salts.
  • Cultivating too close to the plant.

The first fruits of the season are the most severely affected. As the name implies, the disorder always starts at the blossom end, though the rot may enlarge to affect half of the fruit. Moldy growths on the rotted area are caused by fungi or bacteria that invade the damaged tissue.

Take these measures to correct the condition or control the problem.

  • Maintain uniform soil moisture by mulching and proper watering.
  • Avoid high-ammonia fertilizers and large quantities of fresh manure. Water regularly during dry periods.
  • Plant in well-drained soil.
  • If the soil or water is salty, provide more water at each watering to help leach salts through the soil. Avoid using high ammonia fertilizers and fresh manure.
  • Within 1 foot of the plant, do not cultivate deeper than 1 inch.

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Text and images adopted from theOrtho Problem Solver
Last Updated: Fri Sep 06 10:30:00PM CST 1996

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