Diseases can occur in tomatoes.
One example is green or yellow shoulders. Controlling yellow shoulders on tomatoes is crucial to yield that sweet and juicy red produce.
A tomato’s shoulder is that soft rounded spot at the top surrounding the stem. This particular area can determine whether your tomatoes are healthy or not.
Yellow shoulder is a tomato disorder wherein some varieties ripen but the top remains yellow or dark green; never turning into normal red. In this post, we will tackle relevant information about yellow green tomato shoulders.
What Causes Yellow Shoulder Disorder?
- Two words: high heat. Tomatoes having green or yellow shoulders is mostly due to extreme temperatures in their surrounding environment.
- Overexposure to sunlight is also proven to cause yellow shoulders; in direct association with high temperature.
- Decreased in levels of soil potassium and alkaline pH levels also put tomato seeds vulnerable to the disease.
Try to evaluate the cause once you observe the tops of your tomatoes not turning orange and red. It’s your opportunity to become proactive enough to prevent the problem from happening in the next season.
Green or yellow shoulders on tomatoes are a form of the disease. That said, you should not leave the plant in hopes of forcing them to ripen. The tomatoes will eventually just rot.
Read more: Blight on Tomatoes
What Happens to a Tomato That Acquires a Yellow Shoulder?
While it doesn’t mean the tomato hasn’t ripened, yellow shoulder in tomatoes means internal tissue problems. When a tomato fails to produce the right color, it also fails to create a good taste. Yellow shoulder leads to lack of vitamins, particularly in that area. Any tomato wouldn’t be good enough if it doesn’t contain the right level of sweetness and even lycopene.
Read more: Best Fertilizer for tomatoes
How to Get Rid of Yellow Shoulder
While you can’t always be able to get rid of yellow shoulders in tomatoes, you can at least control and prevent it from happening.
Cover your plants
Since you already know high heat causes green or yellow tomato shoulders, the first solution you can try is to cover your tomato plants. No need for them to get covered the entire day; just when the sun is in its brightest state or when the day becomes hot. Remember that extreme temperatures are the number one cause. Remove that factor and you can expect drastic improvements.
While we are discussing about putting efforts in covering your plants, why not prevent them from being exposed to extreme sunlight in the first place? Growing tomatoes indoors might be a great solution if you want to assure less risk of yellow shoulders.
Purchase resistant seeds
Good news: you can actually buy seeds that are invulnerable to yellow shoulder disease. You can approach the one in charge of the nursery and ask for assistance in choosing those varieties with higher resistance. Further, you can just read the tags and look for the said variety.
Planting tomatoes on random soil will increase the risk of planting them on grounds with high pH levels. There are soils that are naturally low on potassium and high on pH levels. This is usually accompanied by a lack of calcium, making them not conducive enough for tomatoes to grow well.
Having raised beds gives you an opportunity to utilize fresh soil in planting tomatoes. That also means you can use soil with the correct pH level.
Read more: Planting Tomatoes in Pots
Plant Food Formula
Like all living things, plants like tomatoes may need particular food formulas for them to thrive well. Aside from planting them on raised beds, make sure the plant food is high on potassium and formulated well for tomatoes.
Take care of your plants
Nothing can give great health and successful growth to plants than properly taking care of them in the first place. Suitable de-leafing, pruning, and nutrition can yield to best results.
Remove the leaves only when necessary. You might think that leaves are just some random phenomenon that happens on plants but they actually serve an important purpose – protection, to name one. When properly organized, the leaves can protect the tomatoes from the sun while simultaneously creating a favorable microclimate for the fruit.
Read more: Tomato Pinworm Control
Pick the green
So this one’s a bit tricky and only advisable when you are certain your tomatoes will eventually acquire the disease. What to do? Pick them while they are still green.
That way, you can transfer them in the dark and let them ripen while not expecting yellow shoulders. If you’re new to this then try using this method to a few samples and see if it works.
Pick the tomatoes when they are mature green. After which, ethylene ripen them in the dark.
Soil pH defines the acidity or alkalinity of a given soil. The measurement ranges on a scale of 1 to 14, with 7 being the neutral level. Anything above 7 means alkaline soil and anything below 7 means acidic soil.
You only need enough pH level. Having too much of it means the plants get fewer nutrients including iron and phosphorus. This is where the importance of soil test comes into the picture.
- Rotate your tomato crop and conduct a soil test before planting them. Ideal pH level for tomatoes is between 6.0 and 6.8. You can also consider anything between 5.5 to 7.5 as safe zones.
- The ratio of potassium by dry matter must be 3 percent.
- Increasing potassium content on soil must be done before the plant attains 1 inch across.
- When necessary, increase the soil acidity with powdered citric acid or sulfur. An ideal time for doing so is during the fall season before you plant them.
Importance of Soil Test
The soil pH rating is the first thing you should pay attention to when you notice your plants are not thriving well. Simply put, the soil pH level holds the key to any plant’s development. That fact alone is enough to justify how important soil testing is.
Careful management and preplanning are two keys in controlling yellow shoulders. Following the solutions presented above can only result in one thing – controlling yellow shoulders on tomatoes and saying goodbye to the disease for good.