Growth Cracks

Growth Cracks

Growth CracksGrowth cracks are a problem most gardeners will have to contend with sooner or later.  Fortunately, the problem is structural in nature, and therefore will not cause an epidemic.

Commonly affected plants include:

Jalapeño peppers frequently crack, as well, but this is normal and not likely to cause a storage problem.

Growth cracks appear when the skin of the fruit in question cannot expand fast enough to keep pace with a rapid increase in pressure inside the fruit.  This can be caused by a number of conditions:

  • Irregular or excessive rainfall.
  • Irregular temperatures.
  • Excess nitrogen.

 

Symptoms

  • Concentric circles around stem end of fruit.
  • Starlike cracks spreading from stem end of fruit.

 

Growth CracksTreatment

Growth cracks will usually correct themselves given time and the proper growing conditions.

 

Prevention

A good starting point is to look for fruit and vegetable varieties that are resistant to cracking.

Your next best bet is to promote even growth:

  • Choose a garden site with good soil drainage.
  • Water deeply but regularly.
  • Mulch to keep the soil moisture steady.
  • Use compost, not chemical fertilizer, to keep nitrogen levels even.

Of course, we can’t control the weather.  If a heavy rain is in the forecast, take a walk through the garden and harvest any vegetables that might suffer from the effects.  If the fruits are almost ready, you can pick them a little early and ripen them on a sunny windowsill.

 

Complete Series

Garden & Orchard DiseasesGarden & Orchard Diseases