Reducing Nutrient and Irrigation Rates in Solar Greenhouse without Compromising Tomato Yield

in HortScience

Overapplication of nutrients and water is common in intensive greenhouse systems. A 2-year experiment (2011–13) was conducted to study the effect of different nutrient and water treatments on the growth and yield of tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum Mill.) and on soil nutrient accumulations in solar greenhouses in South Loess Plateau, China. The treatments included 1) current fertilizer and water practices (FW), 2) formula fertilizer and water 1 (FW1), 3) formula fertilizer and water 2 (FW2), and 4) farmer’s practice (FP). Compared with FW, FW1 and FW2 had yields not significantly different from grower control treatments; however, they saved 35% to 46% of the nitrogen (N) fertilizer, 40% to 54% of the phosphorus (P2O5) fertilizer, 19% to 35% of the potassium (K2O) fertilizer, and 15% to 21% of irrigation water. The economic profits of FW1 and FW2 were greater than those of the FW and FP treatments. The two formula treatments also reduced soil electrical conductivity (EC) and the accumulation of nitrate, available P, and available K in soil. However, the soil nutrients are still above optimal levels. Obvious N surplus in the greenhouse was observed in different treatments, mainly because of high N input from manures. This study revealed there is great potential to reduce nutrient and water use while maintaining the same yield in a greenhouse system.

Contributor Notes

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0200106), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41201238), and the 111 Project (No.B12007).

S. Wang and X. Bai contributed equally to the manuscript.

Corresponding author. E-mail: zjchen@nwsuaf.edu.cn.

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Article Figures

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    Effect of different fertilization and water treatments on plant height, stem diameter, and chlorophyll content of tomato. Bars represent the sd of the mean (n = 3). BP = before planting, FW = current fertilizer and water practice used by local farmers (FW), FW1 = formula fertilizer and water-1, FW2 = formula fertilizer and water-2, and FP = farmer’s practice.

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    Changes in soil organic matter and total N content at the 0- to 100-cm depth in the solar greenhouse during the two growing seasons. Bars represent the sd of the mean (n = 3). The lowercase letters mean significant differences between treatments at P < 0.05. BP = before planting, FW = current fertilizer and water practice used by local farmers (FW), FW1 = formula fertilizer and water-1, FW2 = formula fertilizer and water-2, and FP = farmer’s practice.

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    Changes in soil NO3-N content at the 0- to 200-cm depth in the solar greenhouse after harvesting the second crop. Bars represent the sd of the mean (n = 3). BP = before planting, FW = current fertilizer and water practice used by local farmers (FW), FW1 = formula fertilizer and water-1, FW2 = formula fertilizer and water-2, and FP = farmer’s practice.

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    Changes in soil-available P and available K content at the 0- to 100-cm depth in the solar greenhouse during the two growing seasons. Bars represent the sd of the mean (n = 3). The lowercase letters mean significant differences between treatments at P < 0.05. BP = before planting, FW = current fertilizer and water practice used by local farmers (FW), FW1 = formula fertilizer and water-1, FW2 = formula fertilizer and water-2, and FP = farmer’s practice.

  • View in gallery

    Changes in soil electrical conductivity (EC) of the 0- to 100-cm depth in solar greenhouse during the two growing seasons. Bars represent the sd of the mean (n=3). The lowercase letters mean significant differences between treatments at P < 0.05. BP = before planting, FW= current fertilizer and water practice used by local farmers (FW), FW1 = formula fertilizer and water-1, FW2 = formula fertilizer and water-2, and FP = farmer's practice.

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