Application of Calcium to Soil and Cultivar Affect Elemental Concentration of Watermelon Leaf and Rind Tissue

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Field experiments were conducted to quantify the effect of Ca supplied as gypsum in factorial combination with watermelon [Citrullus launatus (Thumb) Matsum and Nakai] cultivars Charleston Gray, Crimson Sweet, and Tri-X Seedless on yield and the elemental concentration of leaf and rind tissue. Also, the effect that ontogenetic changes and sectional differences had on the elemental concentration in rind tissue was investigated. The experiments were conducted at two locations in Oklahoma. Yield was not affected by Ca; however, mean melon weight was reduced at 1120 kg Ca/ha. Leaf Ca concentration increased linearly in response to Ca rate. `Tri-X Seedless' had lower leaf Ca and higher K concentrations than did `Charleston Gray' or `Crimson Sweet'. Fruit ontogeny (days from anthesis) and melon section (blossom or stem-end) interacted to affect elemental concentrations in the rind tissue. There was also a significant genotypic effect on elemental concentration in rind tissue. Increasing rates of Ca applied to soil reduced the incidence of-blossom-end rot (BER) in `Charleston Gray' melons. Calcium treatment did not affect flesh redness or soluble solids concentration (SSC) of watermelon.

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