A Quantified Approach to Tomato Plant Growth Status for Greenhouse Production in a Semi Arid Climate
AuthorRenda da Costa, Paula MR
vapor pressure deficit
AdvisorGiacomelli, Gene A.
Committee ChairGiacomelli, Gene A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBalancing plant growth between vegetative and reproductive status is crucial for producing high quality greenhouse tomatoes while maintaining high productivity in long crop production seasons. In the tomato industry, certain plant morphological characteristics are used to classify plant growth status as vegetative, reproductive or balanced. Each growth status has been associated with distinct greenhouse environments which reduce or enhance transpiration.The effect of different transpiration on vegetative, reproductive or balanced plant growth status as defined by a set of plant morphological characteristics was investigated. To validate the practical significance of such classification, growth status was quantified as the relationship between variations in morphological characteristics and the fresh weight distributed between reproductive and vegetative organs.Two electrical conductivity (EC) levels of the nutrient solution, high and standard EC, were combined with two potential transpiration environments, low and high potential transpiration. All treatment combinations were contrasted with a reference greenhouse environment similar to the industry standard.Electrical conductivity had the greatest effect on morphological characteristics which were reduced in size with high EC. For each EC level, the response decreased for increasing potential transpiration. Stem diameter had the greatest sensitivity to the different treatment combinations. For the standard EC and for the range of potential transpirations achieved, stem diameter varied within a relatively narrow range, close to the industry standard 'threshold' used to classify a balanced tomato plant. A reproductive plant growth status, as evaluated by a smaller value than this threshold, was observed only with high EC. No vegetative plants were produced within any potential transpiration or EC treatment combination.High EC decreased the cumulative total fresh weight production by the same magnitude for all potential transpirations. Potential transpiration had a minimal effect on the total fresh weight production or on its components. As a result, the fresh weight ratio between reproductive and vegetative plant organs was similar for most potential transpiration environments, regardless of variations in stem diameter. Therefore, within the range of potential transpiration environments achieved, the distinction between vegetative and reproductive growth status as an indicator of fresh weight distribution and fruit yields could not be quantitatively validated.
Degree ProgramAgricultural & Biosystems Engineering