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Effect of Partial Rootzone Drying on Growth, Yield and Biomass Partitioning of a Soilless Tomato Crop

Authors: N. Affi, A. El Fadl, M. El Otmani, M.C. Benismail, L.M. Idrissi


The object of the present research was to assess the effects of partial rootzone drying (PRD) on tomato growth, productivity, biomass allocation and water use efficiency (WUE). Plants were grown under greenhouse, on a sand substrate. Three treatments were applied: a control that was fully and conventionally irrigated, PRD-70 and PRD-50 in which, respectively, 70% and 50% of water requirements were supplied using PRD. Alternation of irrigation between the two root halves took place each three days. The Control produces the highest total yield (252tons/ha). In terms of fruit number, PRD-50 showed 23% and 16% less fruits than PRD-70 and control, respectively. Fruit size was affected by treatment with PRD-50 treatment producing 66% and 53% more class 3 fruits than, control and PRD-70, respectively. For plant growth, the difference was not significant when comparing control to PRD-70 but was significant when comparing PRD-70 and control to PRD-50. No effect was on total biomass but root biomass was higher for stressed plants compared to control. WUE was 66% and 27% higher for PRD-50 and PRD-70 respectively compared to control.

Keywords: Biomass, growth, partial rootzone drying, water use efficiency yield.

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