Influence of plant spacing on the growth and yield of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) varieties
Field studies on the effect of plant spacing on three varieties of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) was carried out at the Experimental Farm of the Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Benin, Benin City. Three varieties of tomato and three spacing regimes were used. The experiments were laid out in 3x3 factorial combination in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) in three replications. The treatments had three varieties of tomato (Roma savanna, UC 82, and Roma VF) and three plant spacing regimes (75 cm x 40 cm, 75 cm x 50 cm, and 75 cm x 60 cm). The results obtained showed that the effect of variety on the vegetative characters was significant (p ≤ 0.05) but did not follow a particular order. The narrowest spacing of 75 cm x 40 cm showed superiority in plant height and leaf area compared with the wider plant spacing of 75 cm x 50 cm and 75 cm x 60 cm. Roma savanna attained 50% flowering earlier and had the highest number of fruits per plant (10.01) and fruit yield (10.87 t/ha) compared with UC 82 (6.73 and 8.73 t/ha) and Roma VF varieties (7.66 and 8.28 t/ha). Significant yield differences were recorded in tomato plants spaced at 75 cm x 40 cm and 75 cm x 50 cm which produced statistically similar fruit yield of (10.41 t/ha) and (9.76 t/ha) respectively above the yield of (7.72 t/ha) obtained from plants spaced at 75 cm x 60 cm.
Keywords: Flowering, plants, Roma savanna, UC82, yield