Genotype and Topping Stage in Relation to Maturity in Burley Tobacco
- W. T. Kelley and
- D. T. Bowman
The danger of frost damage on hurley tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) is an ever present risk to growers in western North Carolina. Therefore, a study was initiated to investigate the effects of topping stage and use of early and late-flowering genotypes on maturity. Four genotypes (‘TN 86’, ‘VA 509’, m.s. Burley 21 ✕ L8, and ‘m.s. Ky 14 ✕ L8’) and three topping stages (early button, elongated button, and full flower) were examined at two locations (Laurel Springs and Waynesville, NC) in 1986 and 1987. Maturity was assessed by visually examining color of the tenth leaf from the bottom of the plant using a scale which is highly correlated with relative concentrations of chlorophylls and carotenoids and is based on the Munsell Color Charts for Plant Tissues. Data on color at harvest were analyzed. Late-flowering cultivars, TN 86 and VA 509, were found to be paler in color at harvest. The paler color at harvest of the cultivars did not always translate into better quality tobacco in the cured leaf state. Choice of cultivar for short-season environments should not necessarily be based on flowering date but on final quality of the cured leaf based on data collected over several seasons.
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