What Is Blossum Rot?
Blossum rot is a bacterial infection caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans. It is not contagious but it can spread from one plant to another through contact with infected soil or water. It causes the wilting of plants, which eventually die back and turn brown and fall off their stems. If left untreated, blooms may also wilt and drop off completely, resulting in death of the fruit.
The disease is most common in warm climates where there is a high level of humidity and poor air circulation. It can also occur at higher elevations in areas with dry, cool summers. When the temperature drops, the fungus thrives better because it doesn’t have to compete with cooler temperatures for moisture. The spores can survive even freezing weather conditions.
Symptoms of Blossom Rot On Watermelons
Plants become stunted and weak. Leaves begin to drop off, causing them to curl up into a ball shape. Fruit begins to shrivel and fall off its stem. Fruits that remain healthy will develop yellowish spots on the skin, while those affected by blight will lose all coloration.
How To Prevent Blossom Rot From Affecting Your Watermelons
1) Use good quality potting mix .
Make sure it does not contain any peat or other organic matter, which the fungus will feed on to spread more effectively.
2) Avoid planting melons in areas where watermelons have been planted the previous year.
3) Space each plant far enough apart from each other to allow for proper air flow.
4) Plant melons in a location that receives full sun, especially during the summer months.
5) Water plants early in the day so that the foliage has time to dry off.
6) Use 1 tablespoonful of copper sulfate per 50 feet of row.
This will prevent further infection from spreading.
How To Treat Blossom Rot That Is Already Infected
1) If you find that your melons have started to become infected, remove ALL infected fruit from the vine as soon as possible.
This will slow the spread of the infection.
2) Cut away all affected areas from the stems and immediately dispose of them.
Make sure to wear gloves if you do this yourself.
3) Drench the soil surrounding the stem with a solution of 1 tablespoonful of copper sulfate per 10 feet of row.
4) Space plants far enough apart from each other to allow for proper air flow.
How To Prevent Blossom Rot From Reoccurring Next Year
1) Always rotate your crops from year to year.
Do not grow melons in the same location two years in a row.
2) Make sure to plant in soil that has not grown melons for at least three years.
3) Make sure the soil is healthy and well drained.
4) Plant melons on the South or West side of your garden, not the North or East.
All these tips can help you fight against blossom rot and protect your valuable crop from infection.
How To Treat Blossom Rot Using Organic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers, such as composted animal manure, are an excellent way to strengthen your plants’ natural immunity against diseases. When used in combination with preventative care, the chances of your plants becoming infected will be greatly reduced.
How To Treat Blossom Rot Using Organic Pesticides
If you prefer to use an organic pesticide, you can mix a solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1 gallon of water and spray it over the foliage to help fight off infection.
How To Prevent Blossom Rot In Future Plantings
There are several steps you can take in order to prevent blossom rot from ever infecting your plants:
Choose disease-resistant varieties when possible. Check with your local nursery or garden centre to see which ones are best for your growing area.
Start your plants inside to give them a head start before you plant them outdoors. This helps to ensure that they are sturdy and healthy enough to fight off any disease that may come their way.
Use sterile growing media when starting your plants indoors. This will prevent any disease organisms from coming in contact with the roots.
How To Store Melons For Later
If you have more melons then you can eat right away, here are some tips for storing them so they don’t go to waste:
Cut the melons open and scoop the seeds out, then cut the melon into 1-inch thick slices. Place the slices on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer until the slices are solid. You can then store the slices inside a freezer-safe bag until you are ready to eat them.
You can also store cut up pieces of melon in some water in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Change out the water every day or two.
How To Preserve Melons Through Canning
If you grow a lot of melons or find them on sale at a good price, you can preserve them so they will last all year.
Sources & references used in this article:
Identification of Rhizoctonia solani AG 1-IB in Lettuce, AG 4 HG-I in Tomato and Melon, and AG 4 HG-III in Broccoli and Spinach, in Brazil by EE Kuramae, AL Buzeto, MB Ciampi… – European journal of plant …, 2003 – Springer
The ravages, life history, weights of stages, natural enemies and methods of control of the Melon Fly (Dacus cucurbitae Coq.) by HHP Severin, HC Severin… – Annals of the …, 1914 – academic.oup.com
Watermelon production by W Roberts, J Motes, J Damicone, J Duthie, J Edelson – 2012 – dasnr22.dasnr.okstate.edu
The melon fly in Hawaii by EA Back, CE Pemberton – 1917 – books.google.com
Characteristic symptoms of melon diseases caused by fungi in south western Nigeria by IA Kehinde – African Journal of Agricultural Research, 2013 – academicjournals.org