Crop Phenology for Irrigated Cantaloupes (Cucumis melo L.) in Arizona
AffiliationDepartment of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, University of Arizona
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AbstractTo determine growth and development patterns of irrigated melon (Cucumis melo L.) plants as a function of heat units accumulated after planting (HUAP), as well as to develop a general irrigated cantaloupe plant development model as a function of HUAP. Fifteen commercial melon fields managed by cooperator-growers were selected at five locations in Arizona from 2003 through 2006 to conduct phenological monitoring studies. Basic plant growth and development measurements were collected at phenological stages that corresponded to pre-bloom, early fruit set, early netting, and physiological maturity. Results indicate that in general, growth and development stages of melons occurred with a high degree of consistency as function of HUAP in all sites. Varietal differences did not appear to have large effects on phenological development. Also, a general irrigated cantaloupe plant development model as function of HUAP for all sites and varieties was obtained. The purpose of this phenological baseline or model is to assist growers in predicting and identifying critical stages of growth for crop management purposes. Early bloom occurred at 357 ± 41 HUAP; early fruit set at 619 ± 81 HUAP; early netting at 820 ± 82 HUAP; and physiological maturity (of primary fruit set or crown fruit) was identified to occur at 1297 ± 128 HUAP.