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  • Author or Editor: Molla Md. Nuruddin x
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Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Sunstart) were grown in a greenhouse during Summer 1999 and again in Winter 2000. Two available soil water (ASW) deficit thresholds, 65% and 80%, at which plants were irrigated to field capacity were factorially combined with five irrigation timing patterns: 1) no water stress; 2) stress throughout the entire growing season; 3) stress during first cluster flowering and fruit set 4) stress during first cluster fruit growth; and 5) stress during first cluster fruit ripening. Crop yields, water use efficiency, as well as maximum and minimum equatorial fruit diameters and fruit height were measured. Quality parameters of soluble solids, pH, and fruit color were also measured. Water stress throughout the growing season significantly reduced yield and fruit size, but plants stressed only during flowering showed fewer but bigger fruit than completely non-stressed plants. Consequently, on a weight basis the stressed at flowering and nonstressed plants had similar yields. Nonstressed and flowering-stressed fruit showed lower soluble solids and a lighter color of red ripe fruit than the other stress treatments. No significant differences in yield or quality were found between the two stress levels (65% vs. 80% ASW depletion before irrigation). Water stress only during flowering resulted in better yields and quality than stress at other specific developmental stages or at all times, but equal or poorer yields and water use efficiency than nonstressed plants.

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