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  • Author or Editor: Gary E. Vallad x
  • HortTechnology x
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Field studies were conducted in Florida to determine the effect of early shoot pruning on the severity of bacterial spot, and on the growth and yield of different tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cultivars. Two tomato cultivars, two inoculation regimes of bacterial spot pathogen (Xanthomonas perforans), and three shoot pruning programs were arranged in a split-split plot design. The tomato cultivars were Tygress and Security-28; shoot pruning included none, light, and heavy; and X. perforans treatments consisted of non-inoculated plots and plots inoculated with a suspension of the pathogen. Tomato plant height was not influenced by any of the three factors or their interactions, whereas the disease severity was higher in inoculated plots versus non-inoculated plants. Early extra-large fruit weight was affected by tomato cultivars and the inoculation with the bacterial spot pathogen, but not by pruning programs or the interaction among factors. Tomato plants inoculated with X. perforans reduced their extra-large fruit weight by 31% in comparison with non-inoculated plants. There were no differences on early marketable fruit weight among the combinations of each cultivar and the three pruning programs. All three factors individually influenced the seasonal marketable fruit weight of tomato, with no difference between light-pruned plants and the non-pruned control for seasonal marketable fruit weight, regardless of tomato cultivars. However, heavy pruning did reduce seasonal yields by 10% in comparison with the non-pruned control. These results indicated that light shoot pruning, which is the standard grower practice in Florida, did not improve bacterial spot control or tomato yields of total and extra-large marketable fruit, which might save up to $50/acre in reduced labor costs for Florida tomato growers.

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