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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
Agricultural Research Education Center
IFAS, University of Florida
Bradenton, FL 33508-9324
Bradenton ;AEC Research Report GC1931-11 November 1931
RESPONSE OF FOUR TOMATO CULTIVARS TO FERTILIZER LEVELS AND IN-ROW SPACING
A. A. Csizinszky
Replicated trials were conducted at the Agricultural Research A Education
Center, Bradenton in the fall (Sept.-Dec.) 1980 and spring (March-June) 1981
seasons to evaluate the performance of 4 tomato cultivars (cvs) at 3 fertilizer
levels and 2 in-row spacings. The effect of treatments on weight per fruit,
earliness and ounces yield were of special interest.
Materials and Methods
Experimental plots were established on Myakka fine sand with a hardpan at
approximately 32 in. below the soil surface. Five-week old seedlings of the cvs
'Fla 1A,' 'Fla 1B,' and 'Hayslip' (Univ. of Fla., IFAS) and 'FTE #12' (Peto Seed
Co.) were transplanted in the field on Sept. 2 in the fall and on March 2 in the
spring season. The cvs 'Fla 1A' and 'Fla 1B' have jointed (jo) and 'Hayslip' and
'FTE #12' the jointless (J ) gene characteristic. Experimental design was a split-
plot arranged in a randomized complete block, replicated 3 times. Main plots were
3 fertilizer levels: lx, 1.5x and 2x; sub-plots were the 4 cultivars, and sub-sub
plots were 2 within-row plant spacings: 30 in. and 20 in. Fertilizers were applied
on a per plant basis, i.e. plants at both in-row spacings received the same amount
of nutrients in the same main plot (Table 1). Bed mix consisted of 0-20-0 + micro-
nutrients (0O lb Fi 503/ton) and 13-0-44 (KNO). Both fertilizers were spread in
the full width of the bed (30 in.), then incorporated in the soil to a depth of
4 in. Banded fertilizer consisted of 13-0-25-2 and 34-0-0 (NH4NO.,), applied in a
narrow band on the bed shoulders approx. 12 in. from the bed center. The ratio of
W:P O:K, 0 in each fertilizer treatment was 1:0.33:2. Thirty percent of the N was
in thd avonical (NH ) and 70% in the nitrate (NO ) form. Soil was fumigated with
IMC-33 (66% methyl bromide + 33% chloropicrin) appTied with 3 chisels at a rate of
140 lbs per treated acre. Beds were covered with a white polyethylene mulch in the
fall and black mulch in the spring. Plots were irrigated with the seepage system
with lateral furrows spaced 41 ft apart. This arrangement results in 7 plant beds
between the lateral furrows and 7400 linear feet of bed per acre. Yields are
reported on this basis. Plants were staked but not pruned. Pesticides were applied
on a 7 day schedule. Fruits were harvested 3 times at 7-10 day intervals. At
harvest, weight and number of marketable fruits (small size and above and free of
dai~age) were taken.
Results and Discussion
Fertilizer levels had a significant effect only on the average fruit weight in
the fall season (Table 2). Fruit weight was best at the lx fertilizer level (5.86
oz average fruit weight). Increasing the amount of fertilizers by 50 or 100% had
no significant effect on the number or weight of marketable fruit. These results
are in agreement with earlier findings of the effect of fertilizers on tomato yields
and fruit weight at the AREC-Bradenton (1).
Cultivars in the fall season had a significant effect on marketable yields
(Table 3). In the spring, cultivars affected average fruit weight and the percent
of fruit harvested at each of the 3 pickings (Tables 3 and 4). In the fall season
'FTE #12' and 'Hayslip' had the highest yields due to a higher number of fruit per
plant, 33 and 31 fruits, respectively. The jointed cultivars 'Fla lA' and 'Fla 1B'
yielded only G2 and 21 marketable fruits per plant (Table 3). In the spring, 'Fla 1B'
had the greatest average fruit weight, G.38 oz. The other 3 cultivars in the trials
had a significantly lower average weight per fruit (Table 3).
Yield distribution of the 4 cultivars at each of the 3 pickings during the 2
seasons is in Table 4. In the fall season no significant differences were found
between the cultivars for the proportion of fruit harvested at the 3 pickings.
In the spring, the cvs 'Fla IA' and 'Fla 1B' had the larger proportion of their
total yields harvested at the first pickinn than 'Hayslip' and 'FTE #12.'
Therefore, 'Fla lA' and 'Fla 1B' should be considered as "early" cultivars.
'FTE #12' had the largest proportion of its total yield harvested at the second
pick. 'Hayslip' had an evenly distributed yield over the 3 pickings.
In-row plant spacings had the greatest effect on tomato yields (Table 5).
Yield per plant in both seasons was higher at the 30 in. spacing. The higher
yield was the result of a greater number of fruit per plant in the fall, and a
greater number of fruit per plant and a higher average fruit weight in the spring.
Yield per acre, however, was higher at the 20 in. plant spacing, due to the larger
number of plants per acre with closer in-row spacing. There were 2960 plants per
acre at the 30 in., and 4440 plants per acre at the 20 in. within-row spacing
(7400 ft-bed per acre). Interaction of the treatments and cultivars were not
significant in the trials.
The following conclusions can be drawn from the results of this study:
1. Greatest weight per fruit was recorded at 1.56 oz N, 0.52 oz PO and
3.11 oz K 0 per plant fertilizer application, regardless of in-row plant 9pacings
as cultivars. Higher fertilizer levels did not increase yield or fruit weight.
2. In-row spacing affected yield per plant and yield per acre. Yield per
plant was higher with 30 in. spacing and yield per acre was better with 20 in.
spacing. Average fruit weight was greater at the 30 in. spacing.
3. Cultivars in the fall 1980 season affected yield and in the spring 1931
season, average fruit weight and the proportion of fruit harvested at the 3 pickings.
'Hayslip' yielded approximately equal proportions of its fruit at the 3 pickings
while the other 3 cultivars in the trials yielded most of their fruit at the first
or second pick.
1. Csizinszky, A. A. 1980. Effect of fertilizers and within row plant spacing on
tomato fruit size and yield. AREC-Bradenton Res. Rept. GC1980-10.
2. Everett, P. H. 1931. non-staked tomato variety trials results. Immokalee
ARC Res. Rept. SF1931-2.
3. Waters, U. E., T. K. Howe, D. S. Burgis, and J. W. Scott. 1981. Hand harvest
tomato variety trials for fall 1980 and spring 1981. AREC-Bradenton Res. Rept.
4. Stofella, P. F., and R. N. Sonoda. 1980. Fall 1980 staked tomato variety
trial. Fort Pierce ARC Res. Rept. RL1981-4.
Table 1. Ilajor nutrients applied at the low (Ix) fertilizer treatment for tomatoes
at two in-row plant spacings.
In-row N P5 K20 N P20 KO2
spacing Placement oz/plant lb/100 ft. bedz
20 in. bed mix 0.22 0.52 0.11 0.83 1.95 0.41
band 1.34 ---- 3.00 5.02 ---- 11.25
Total 1.56 0.2 3.11 5.35 1.95 11.66
30 in. bed mix 0.22 O.52 0.11 0.55 1.30 0.28
band 1.34 ---- 3.00 3.35 ---- 7.50
Total 1.56 0.52 3.11 3.90 1.30 7.78
z60 plants/100 ft. bed at 20 in. and 40 plants/100 ft. bed at 30 in. in-row spacing
Table 2. Effect of fertilizer levels on marketable yield and average fruit weight
of four cultivars of tomatoes averaged over 2 in-row spacings.
Fall 1930 Spring 1931
Fertilizer level Fertilizer levelz
Parameter lx 1.5x 2x LSD .05 x 1.5x 2x LSD .
40 1 x x D- 0.05
Yield/plant, lb. 9.9 9.0 9.5 NS 16.4 15.8 14.5 HS
No. of fruit/plant 27 26 28 NS 45 44 40 NS
Average fruit weight,
(oz) 5.26 5.57 5.40 0.32** 5.86 5.78 5.82 NS
Yield/acre, box 1206 1094 1137 IS 1965 1873 1718 NS
f(o. of fruit/acre
(xl000) 220.4 207.9 221.3 NS 352.0 342.2 315.7 HS
ZFor fertilizer levels see Table 1.
YLSD is significant at the 5% (**) level or not significant (WS).
Table 3. Effects of cultivars on marketable yield and average fruit weight of
tomatoes regardless of spacings and fertilizer levels.
No. of fruit/plant
Average fruit wt, oz
No. of fruit/acre
No. of fruit/plant
Average fruit wt, oz
No. of fruit/acre
ZLSD is significant at the 5% level (**) or not significant (NS).
Table 4. Effect of
cultivars on the percent of fruit harvested at each of the three
regardless of fertilizer level and plant spacing.
pick Fla 1A Fla 1B Hayslip FTE #12 LSDO.05z
Fall 1930 %
1st 10 17 6 6 NS
2nd 55 52 56 59 S
3rd 35 31 33 35 NS
Total 100 100 100 100
1st 45 49 32 36 6
2nd 40 33 36 45 3
3rd 15 13 32 19 12
Total 100 100 100 100
LSD is significant at the 5% level or non-significant (IiS).
Table 5. Effect of in-row spacing on marketable yield and fruit weight of 4 tomato
cultivars, regardless of fertility level.
Fall 1980 Spring 1981
Plant spacing Plant spacing
Parameter 20 in. 30 in. LSDz 20 in. 30 in. LSDz
Yield/plant, lb 8.8 10.1 1.0** 13.3 17.9 1.3**
Wo. of fruit/plant 25 29 2.5** 38 48 2.7***
Average fruit weight, oz. 5.54 5.64 NiS 5.64 6.03 0.21***
Yield/acre, box 1298 994 117*** 1941 1760 157***
No. of fruit/acre 245.4 186.2 26.5*** 361.0 313.0 25.1***
zLSD is significant at the 5% (**) or 1% (***) level or non-significant (US).