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The effects of long-day lighting and removal of young leaves on tomato yield

By V. M. Valdes, G. C. Woodward and S. R. (Steven R.) Adams

Abstract

While low intensity long-day (LD) lighting has been shown to enhance the growth of young plants under low light levels, its effect on the yield of a long-season glasshouse tomato crop has not been previously examined. LD were provided by the use of tungsten lamps (2.8 μmol m-2 s-1 at approx. 0.5 m from the ground) between 04.00 h to sunrise and from sunset until 20.00 h (GMT). LD lighting increased leaf chlorophyll contents, and the numbers of flowers and fruits set per truss when the plants were young. However, this treatment did not affect the total yield of tomatoes. Different leaf removal treatments were applied within each glasshouse compartment. A previous experiment had shown that reducing the leaf area index (LAI) from 5.2 to 2.6, by removing old leaves, did not affect yield. It was also thought that removal of young leaves reduced the total vegetative sink-strength and favoured assimilate partitioning into the fruit. Therefore, removal of young leaves could increase fruit yield. In the present experiments, one-third of the leaves were removed in March (those immediately below each truss) and, subsequently, every third leaf was removed at an early stage of its development. This reduced the LAI from 4.1 to 2.9 and resulted in a loss of yield from 3 – 4 weeks after leaf removal until the end of the experiment, at which point there was an 8% loss of cumulative yield due to a reduction in the average number of fruits set per truss and in mean fruit weight. We postulate that the light which would have been intercepted by young photosynthetically-efficient leaves at the top of the canopy was intercepted instead by older leaves which were less efficient, reducing overall net canopy photosynthesis

Topics: SB
Publisher: Headley Brothers Ltd.
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2912

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Citations

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