EFFECT OF DEFOLIATION ON REPRODUCTIVE CHARACTERS AND YIELD OF TOMATO
The experiment was conducted under sub-tropical condition during 2017-18 and 2018-19 (November-March) to investigate the effect of defoliations on reproductive characters and yield of tomato. The experimental treatments were five levels of leaves defoliation viz., 0 (control), 3, 6, 9 and 12 from the base out of 17 leaves treated on and two tomato advanced lines viz., TM-110 and TM-135. The leaves defoliations were started at the beginning of flowering stage. The experiment was laid out in two factors split-plot design with three replicates by maintaining varieties as main plot and the defoliation levels as sub-plot. The reproductive characters and yield related characters such as number of effective flower clusters and flowers plant-1, number of fruits plant-1, individual fruit weight and fruit yield were not affected up to six leaves defoliation irrespective of seasons and genotypes. Reproductive parameters and yield attributes were better in three and six leaves defoliated plants over the control with being the highest in six leaves defoliated plant. Heavy defoliation not only reduced source sizes but also decreased total sink (flower and fruits) causing lower fruit yields. The lowest reproductive characters and fruit yield was recorded from twelve leaves defoliated plants. Interaction effects of genotype and defoliation on reproductive characters, yield attributes and fruit yield was non-significant in both years except single fruit weight and fruit weight plant-1 in 2017. It means trend of increase/decrease in yield attributes and fruit yield was almost similar in both the varieties. These results indicate that tomato plants can tolerate one-third leaf loss during reproductive stage and the knowledge of which might be essential for maintaining better quality tomato production.
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