Calcium plays a role, but as this snippet below shows, BER is more a
consequence of too much N ferts and uneven moisture supply.
Blossom-end rot is not caused by a parasitic organism but is a physiologic
disorder associated with a low concentration of calcium in the fruit.
Calcium is required in relatively large concentrations for normal cell
growth. When a rapidly growing fruit is deprived of necessary calcium, the
tissues break down, leaving the characteristic dry, sunken lesion at the
blossom end. Blossom-end rot is induced when demand for calcium exceeds
supply. This may result from low calcium levels or high amounts of
competitive cations in the soil, drought stress, or excessive soil moisture
fluctuations which reduce uptake and movement of calcium into the plant, or
rapid, vegetative growth due to excessive nitrogen fertilization.
Maintain the soil pH around 6.5. Liming will supply calcium and will
increase the ratio of calcium ions to other competitive ions in the soil.
Use nitrate nitrogen as the fertilizer nitrogen source. Ammoniacal nitrogen
may increase blossom-end rot as excess ammonium ions reduce calcium uptake.
Avoid over-fertilization as side dressings during early fruiting, especially
with ammoniacal forms of nitrogen.
Avoid drought stress and wide fluctuations in soil moisture by using mulches
and/or irrigation. Plants generally need about one inch of moisture per week
from rain or irrigation for proper growth and development.
Foliar applications of calcium, which are often advocated, are of little
value because of poor absorption and movement to fruit where it is needed. "
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