Effect of Drip Irrigation and Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium Application Rates on Tomato Biomass Accumulation, Nutrient Content, Yield, and Soil Nutrient Status
The majority of Florida’s tomatoes are grown on sandy soils, having low water and nutrient holding capacities. Tomato growers have to supply large quantities of fertilizer in order to supply all the nutrients required for satisfactory growth. Drip irrigation provides many advantages including a reduction of water use and efficient fertilizer management compared with other irrigation systems. Studies of fertigated tomato grown on plastic mulch covered beds in fall 2013, spring 2014 and fall 2014 were conducted to quantify the effect of different fertigation rates on tomato biomass accumulation and fruit yields; and the measurement of N, P and K concentrations and distribution pattern in the soil at different sampling positions and depths during the whole season in Florida on sandy soils. The experimental results indicated, the application of more fertilizer application than the recommended dose does not increase the tomato fruit yield significantly while it had led to luxurious consumption of nutrients and excessive biomass accumulation by tomato plants Drip fertigation kept the nutrients at optimum concentration in the crop root zone within the top 0 – 30-cm soil depth. Additional research is needed to quantify nutrient leaching below the crop root zone.