Root and Air Temperature Effects on the Flowering and Yield of Tomato

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., Canada NIG 2W1


Cultivars of greenhouse tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were grown in the greenhouse and in growth chambers to study the effects of root and air temperature on flowering and yield. A low air temperature of 19° (day)/14°C (night), during the fall crop, caused no reduction in yield when compared with the commonly used 22°/17° air temperature. A 13°/8° air temperature during the spring crop drastically reduced yield compared with the 19°/14°C air temperature. Flowering of ‘Ohio MR-13’ in growth chambers was delayed significantly at air temperatures of 24°/8° compared to 24°/17°, but the flowering of ‘Vendor’ was unaffected by air temperature treatments. Marketable yield of ‘Vendor’ was significantly higher at 24°/8° compared to the 24°/17° treatment, while the marketable yield of ‘Ohio MR-13’ was unaffected. At a constant, day air temperature of 24°, the amount of small fruit decreased as night air temperature was lowered from 17° to 8° and maturity was delayed as night air temperature was lowered from 14° to 8°. The effect of low air temperature on flowering and yield of tomatoes was large and could not be offset by increasing root temperatures. At air temperatures of 24°/17°, 24°/14°, and 24°/8°, marketable yields were affected adversely by the absence of root thermoperiodicity (day to night root temperature variation).

Contributor Notes

Present address: Research Station, Agriculture Canada, Harrow, Ont., Canada NOR 1G0.


Received for publication November 26, 1982. The authors gratefully acknowledge the statistical advice of I. McMillan, University of Guelph and V. A. Dirks, Agriculture Canada. The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. Under postal regulations, this paper therefore must be hereby marked advertisement solely to indicate this fact.