You’ve loving created a sunny, nutrient-rich bed for your tomato plants and watered and fed them well. When you’ve done all the right things only to see those ripe, juicy tomatoes, you don’t want the results anything short of perfect.
Yet those ugly black spots appear out of nowhere to take all the charm away! Where did they come from? Is your tomato vine a lost cause now, or is there still a chance to do something about it? How to fix black spots on tomatoes? Keep reading and you’ll find all your answers.
Most Common Reasons For Black Spots On Tomatoes And Their Fix
Tomato problems are widely popular in home gardens, particularly because they’re so simple to grow. Nevertheless, the vines are susceptible to many different kinds of problems. Black spots on tomatoes could itself mean several things. Here’s a list of the most common problems associated with black spots, together with their solutions.
Blossom End Rot
A brownish-black spot appearing on the bottom (or the blossom end) of the fruit is most likely the result of blossom end rot. Calcium deficiency in the plant leads to Black spots on bottom of tomatoes.
The affected tomatoes will be invaded by secondary organisms through the black spot, eventually rotting the entire fruit. There’s no saving them. Pick and discard the affected fruits to help the plant concentrate its energies on the development of healthy fruits.
It might be too late to save the affected tomatoes, but you can still prevent the healthy fruits from catching the problem. Maintain consistent moisture, with 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week.
Don’t over-fertilize, especially with nitrogen-based fertilizers, since excess nitrogen will diminish the calcium absorption by the roots. Most soils already have an ample supply of calcium, but including crushed eggshells, lime or bonemeal may help reverse the situation.
Bacterial Speck On Tomatoes
Bacterial speck is a common disease that affects tomato plants early in the growing season. It starts with the leaves and spreads to the fruits in severe cases. Small black spots on green tomatoes have dark green haloes while those on ripe tomatoes have yellowish haloes. It’s caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv.
It usually comes from contaminated tomato seeds and thrives in a cool, wet environment. Splashes while watering and handling healthy plants with the gardening tools used for infected plants spread the disease through your tomato crop. You can consume the unharmed tomatoes from the infected plant, but discard the ones that show symptoms.
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The next thing on your mind must be how to fix black spots on tomatoes caused by bacterial speck. Unfortunately, once infected, the tomato plant cannot be salvaged. Let the plant continue through the growing season, harvesting all unblemished fruits from it. At the end of the growing season, remove it from the garden bed and destroy it. Plant the next tomato crop at a different location to prevent re-infection.
Bacterial speck on tomatoes can be prevented by using high-quality seed packages from reliable sources. If there’s a chance that seeds are contaminated, soak them in hot water for 20 minutes to kill the bacteria. Always water the plants at the base, to prevent the spread of bacterial speck or similar diseases.
The symptoms of bacterial spot are quite similar to that of bacterial speck but are caused by different bacteria. Four different species Xanthomonas, are responsible for affecting tomato crops worldwide. On the fruit, the symptoms start on green tomatoes.
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You’ll initially find tiny black spots on tomatoes that are raised and may have a white halo. As the fruit develops, the spots enlarge, haloes disappear and the spot may become sunken.
Similar to bacterial speck, the disease initiates from contaminated seeds and spreads by water splashes and the use of contaminated tools on healthy plants.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for the infected plants. Since the disease spreads fast, the best course of action is to remove the infected plants and burn them. While you can consume the unblemished tomatoes, those with symptoms should be avoided. Burn the tomato debris at the end of the growing season and plant the next tomato crop at a different spot.
Remove and discard the infected plants to prevent the spread of the disease. Regular application of fungicide or neem oil can also help control the spread. Since overripe fruits are more susceptible to anthracnose, pick tomatoes as soon as they turn red. Plant disease-resistant varieties and avoid overhead irrigation. Water at the base or use a drip irrigation system.
Are Tomatoes With Black Spots safe To Eat?
Although the black spots may not be harmful on their own, they present an entry point for secondary organisms to enter the fruit. That’s what makes them unsafe to eat.
Both bacterial speck and bacterial spot aren’t human pathogens, and do not directly make the infected fruit unsafe for consumption. That’s exactly why you can consume the fruits from infected plants that do not display any visible symptoms. However, are tomatoes with black spots safe to eat? No. pick the symptomatic tomatoes and discard them.
Tomatoes with anthracnose are safe to eat as long as you remove the infected portions. Make sure you discard the infected portions properly since they can contain spores that can spread the disease.