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  • Author or Editor: Elizabeth A. Wahle x
  • HortScience x
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Greenhouse hydroponics and field experiments were conducted to determine how nitrogen (N) fertilizer treatments affect tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) growth, yield, and partitioning of N in an effort to develop more sustainable fertilization strategies. In a hydroponics study, after 4 weeks in nitrate treatments, shoot dry weight was five times greater at 10.0 than at 0.2 mm nitrate. An exponential growth model was strongly correlated with tomato root growth at all but 0.2 mm nitrate and shoot growth in 10 mm nitrate. Root dry weight was only 15% of shoot biomass. In field studies with different population densities and N rates, height in the 4.2 plants/m2 was similar, but shoot weight was less than in the 3.2 plants/m2. At 12 weeks after planting, shoot fresh weight averaged 3.59 and 2.67 kg/plant in treatments with 3.2 and 4.2 plants/m2, respectively. In 1998, final tomato yield did not respond to N rate. In 1999, there was a substantial increase in fruit yield when plants were fertilized with 168 kg·ha-1 N but little change in yield with additional N. Nitrogen content of the leaves and the portion of N from applied fertilizer decreased as the plants grew, and as N was remobilized for fruit production. Both studies indicate that decreasing N as a way to reduce N loss to the environment would also reduce tomato growth.

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Two experiments were conducted to evaluate processing pumpkin and processing squash tolerance to preemergence herbicides. The experiments were randomized complete block designs with three or four replications. The herbicides were applied after seeding the crop using a CO2-pressurized sprayer delivering 233 L/ha. We evaluated clomazone alone, and in combination with either halosulfuron or sulfentrazone. The first experiment was conducted in Morton, Ill., using `Libby's Select' processing pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata). None of the treatments caused any significant pumpkin phytotoxicity. On 7 July all treatments reduced the number of grass weeds compared to the untreated control. There were no differences in grass control between the herbicide treatments. Broadleaf control was best in sulfentrazone at 0.56 kg/ha or clomazone + halosulfuron at 0.56 + 0.13 kg/ha and worst in the untreated control. Weed control decreased by the 29 July rating; grass and broadleaf weed control was unacceptable in all treatments due to infestation with perennial weeds. Sulfentrazone alone or with clomazone was safe for use on pumpkins in heavier soils. The second experiment, conducted in Champaign, Ill., used `NK530' processing squash (Cucurbita maxima). None of the treatments caused any squash phytotoxicity. The best control on 14 July was with combinations of clomazone and sulfentrazone. On 10 Aug., all herbicide treatments were similar in their control of broadleaf weeds. Sulfentrazone and halosulfuron do not injure processing pumpkin or squash when applied either alone or in combination with clomazone.

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