THE INFLUENCE OF FLOWERING PATTERNS ON FRUIT-SET IN TWO CULTIVARS OF MUSKMELON

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  • 1 TAES, Texas A&M System, Weslaco, TX 78596
  • 2 USDA-ARS, Weslaco, TX 78596
  • 3 Asgrow Seed, McAllen, TX 79504
  • 4 Starr Produce, Rio Grande City, TX 78582

Two muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) cultivars, Mission and Laguna, were direct-seeded in spring plantings separated by 30 days at the TAES farm in Weslaco. Females were tagged each morning for 8 consecutive days beginning on the first day of flowering and evaluated for fruit set 15 to 20 days later. Mean numbers of flowers and fruits produced on individual plants were compared across cultivars and planting dates. The flowering patterns appear to be bimodal with the majority of blooms occurring during the first 5 days followed by a sharp decline on day 6 and gradual increase, thereafter. The majority of the fruit is set during the first 5 days of flowering and failed to increase with the subsequent rise in flowering. Mission produced approximately 30% more female flowers per plant than Laguna; however, fruit numbers were the same for both cultivars. The environmental conditions associated with earlier plantings suppressed flowering in Laguna but had no effect on the daily rate of fruit-set. Fertilization and fruit set appear to be relatively unaffected by the population dynamics of female flowering.

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