Growth and Canopy Characteristics of Field-Grown Tomato
- Johannes Scholberga,
- Brian L. McNeal *a,
- James W. Jonesb,
- Kenneth J. Bootec,
- Craig D. Stanleyd and
- Thomas A. Obrezae
- 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.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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