Pik rite tomatos

Asked October 2, 2016, 10:27 PM EDT

I have been raising pik rite tomatoes for years with great success. I don't think I have had any of them show the white fibrous texture in the top of the tomato like they are doing this year. The tomato looks beautiful, but when you slice the top off, they have a fibrous white look underneath. Some of them really have a lot of this texture while some of them show none of it. We have always planted in the same area, while trying to plant on one side of the garden and then the next year on the other side. The garden is a rectangle 40' x 70 '. So they are always pretty close to the same area. Could it be because of a blight? Or by being planted too close year after year?

Washington County Oregon tomato problem horticulture vegetable gardening

4 Responses

What you are describing sounds like sunscald. Areas exposed to direct sunlight turn white with a "corky" texture inside. The rest of the tomato is perfect. I had it on several varieties this year too, and think it has to do with our weather. We had cool weather punctuated with very hot weather, so areas on the tomato got much hotter than the protected areas.

Fertilizing the tomato well so there is a good canopy of leaves will protect the fruit from sunscald. Insects that defoliate the plant can also lead to sunscald. This article, Sunscald on Tomatoes has pictures of this condition and suggestions for prevention.

I have seen some of this sunscald. Mostly that is not what I am seeing in these tomatoes. It mostly is around the stem of the tomato just maybe a quarter of the way down evenly under the top. Some of the worst cases even farther into the center of the tomato.
I have some sunscald,, but this is different.

Thank you for the additional information on your Pik Rite tomatoes. Would you mind sending a picture so I can see what it looks like - I think it would be very helpful.

Thanks,

After further research the condition you describe in your tomatoes is a problem in ripening. With wide variations in temperatures (cool temperatures followed by very high temperatures) the ripening process is disturbed. Lycopene, the red pigment in tomatoes, does not form properly in high heat leaving the yellow carotene pigment. This also disturbs the texture development. There are several names given to this problem (white ring, white shoulder, grey wall, blotchy ripening, yellow shoulder, sunscald, hard core, etc.), and variations in how the problem looks, but the cause is the same - fluctuating temperatures causing problems with ripening. Blight is a fungal disease and the tomatoes basically rot on the vine.

To manage this problem you want to give your plants the best care possible. Potassium deficiency can affect growing conditions as well as calcium deficiency, too much nitrogen, inconsistent watering, etc. At this point it might be a good idea to get a soil test done. It will tell you alot about how your soil affects your tomato's development. There is a lab in the Portland area (A&L Labs) that can do it, and the cost is reasonable.

This article, Tomato Fresh Market gives you information on growing tomatoes and some of the problems you might see (at the end of the article).