Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 4, Issue 3&4,2006
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Cross-sectional area of the root medium affects water uptake of tomato in a closed system


M. S. Albaho

Recieved Date: 2006-07-02, Accepted Date: 2006-09-09


The cross-sectional areas (CSA) of the vertical capillary strip (wick) and root medium of a capillary subirrigation system can limit the water uptake rate during periods of peak water demand by the tomato plant and result in decreased yield. An enclosed root system environment known as the closed insulated pallet system (CIPS) was the production method used in this study. The CSA of the vertical capillary strip, the CSA of the capillary root media and plant growth stage interact on rate of water demand and uptake. Greatest water uptake occurred during the fruit expansion stage of plant growth (71-95 days after emergence, DAE, of the seedlings) in the 28 cm diameter pouched root media. Greatest daily water uptake rate, within this growth period occurred between 1200-1630 hours. Daily water uptake per plant commonly exceeds 800 ml during rapid expansion of tomato fruit; the hourly uptake rate between 1200-1630 hours peaked at 111 ml/hour/plant. Only during the flowering (46-70 DAE) and subsequent fruit expansion stages of high water demand, water uptake was significantly affected by the CSA of the capillary strips. Even then, water uptake rate was increased significantly by the increased CSA of the vertical capillary strips only in the root medium with the smallest diameter (16 cm diameter). The potential rate of water uptake increased as CSA of the vertical capillary strips and root medium increased. Greatest fruit yield, least incidence of tomato fruit blossom end rot, greatest water uptake during plant growth periods of high water demand and greatest cumulative water uptake occurred in the treatments with greatest CSA for capillary water movement.


Plant-water relationships, capillary subirrigation, Lycopersicon esculentum, conserver fertilizer applicator, Marriott siphon

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2006
Volume: 4
Issue: 3&4
Category: Agriculture
Pages: 175-180

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