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Agronomy Journal Abstract - FIELD-GROWN TOMATO

Growth and Canopy Characteristics of Field-Grown Tomato


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 92 No. 1, p. 152-159
    Received: Feb 22, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): blm@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu
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  1. Johannes Scholberga,
  2. Brian L. McNeal *a,
  3. James W. Jonesb,
  4. Kenneth J. Bootec,
  5. Craig D. Stanleyd and
  6. Thomas A. Obrezae
  1. a Soil and Water Science Dep., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0510 USA
    b Agric. & Biol. Engineering Dep., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0570 USA
    c Agronomy Dep., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0500 USA
    d Gulf Coast Res. & Educ. Center, 5007 60 St. E, Bradenton, FL 34203-9324 USA
    e Southwest Florida Res. & Educ. Center, PO Box 5127, Immokalee, FL 33934-9716 USA


Although detailed growth studies and yield analysis are common for agronomic crops, their application to horticultural crops is limited. Detailed growth measurements of field-grown tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were conducted at four Florida locations for two irrigation methods. Maximum rate of main-stem node development was ≈0.5 nodes d−1 and leaf area index (LAI) increased exponentially with main-stem node number. Maximum LAI was attained 11 wk after transplanting, with values ranging from 1.5 to 3.0 and from 3.2 to 6.0 for drip-irrigated and subirrigated crops, respectively. Lower LAI values with drip irrigation were only partially related to wider row spacings. Final biomass (dry weight) ranged from 6 to 12 Mg ha−1 and fruit dry weight harvest indices (fruit biomass/total above-ground biomass) ranged from 0.53 to 0.71. Average dry matter accumulation by roots, stems, and leaves accounted for ≈3, 23, and 17% of final biomass, respectively. Estimated radiation use efficiency (RUE) for tomato averaged 1.05 g dry weight MJ−1 m−2, with 50 to 60% light interception in the crop production area at LAI values of 4 to 5. At 11000 plants per ha, the rate of dry matter accumulation averaged 17.8 g d−1 m−2 during the linear growth phase, with instantaneous dry matter partitioning to fruits averaging 0.70 during the fruit-growth phase. Relationships between degree days, estimated cumulative intercepted radiation, and fruit yield accounted for much of the variation in fruit yields for these different seasons and locations throughout Florida.

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