Irrigation frequency and substrate volume effects in the growth and yield of tomato plants under greenhouse conditions


Scientia Agricola




Tomato cropping (Solanum lycopersicum L.) under protected cultivation using substrates and drip fertigation has improved sustainable production systems especially fruit quality and plant health. However, little is known for tomato plants when considering the interaction between substrate volume and irrigation frequency. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) fiber substrate volumes and drip irrigation frequencies on the vegetative growth and fruit yield of tomato plants under greenhouse conditions. The experimental design consisted of randomized blocks arranged in a 3 × 2 factorial with four replicates. Treatments consisted of three substrate volumes (5.0; 7.5 and 10.0 L per plant) and two irrigation frequencies (once and five times per day). Leaf area index tended to increase in plants grown with the largest substrate volume (10 L). Although substrate volumes affected shoot dry matter, no effects on tomato yield and its components were observed. However, plants grown with 5 L of substrate and irrigated once a day produced a greater number of non-marketable fruit due to the higher incidence of calcium deficiency symptoms (blossom end rot). When plants were grown in 5 L or 7.5 L of substrate volume, high irrigation frequency favored the vegetative growth, stomatal conductance, CO2 assimilation and transpiration and fruit yield. Fruit yield and healthy fruits were favored by high irrigation frequency and did not depend on the substrate volume.

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