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Tomato yield and water use efficiency change with various soil moisture and potassium levels during different growth stages.


ABSTRACT: Faced with the scarcity of water resource and irrational fertilizer use, it is highly important to supply plants with water and fertilizer at desiderated stages to improve yield with high water use efficiency (WUE). A pot experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of growth stage-specific water deficiency and potassium (K) fertilization on tomato yield and WUE. The entire growing season of tomato was divided into 5 stages: vegetative growth stage (VG), flowering and fruit setting stage (FS), early fruit growth stage (FG), fruit development stage (FD) and fruit maturity stage (FM). Three soil moisture (W) and three K fertilization levels were set up. W levels included W1, W2 and W3, indicating that soil water was maintained at 60-70% field capacity, 70-80% field capacity, and 80-90% field capacity, respectively. K levels included K1, K2 and K3, indicating that 0 g K2O per kg soil, 0.46 g K2O per kg soil and 0.92 g K2O per kg soil was applied. All combinations of the three W and three K levels were solely imposed at each of the five growth stages, for other four stages, plants were watered to 80-90% field capacity without K fertilizer (W3K1). The permanent W3K1 over the entire growth stage was taken as control (CK). The results showed that W deficiency imposed at all stages significantly affected tomato yield (P<0.01), except for VG stage in which W deficiency did not cause yield loss. K fertilization level during FS or FM stage had a significant effect on yield (P<0.01). A significant interaction effect of W and K on yield was only observed during FM stage. For WUE, significant effect of W deficiency at FS, FD and FM stages were observed, and a significant effect of K levels at FS, FD and FM stages was observed. Specifically, K fertilization was necessary during specific growth stage of tomato (i.e. FS and FM). During FS stage, even if a sufficient water supply seems necessary, a deficit irrigation with K fertilization could be applied as K fertilization could alleviate the negative effect of soil water deficit, however, excess of K fertilization during FM stage should be avoided to maintain tomato yield and WUE.

SUBMITTER: Liu J 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6436690 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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