Effects of pruning location on growth and fruiting of three tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) varieties in rainforest zone of Nigeria
A field experiment was carried out during the 2016/2017 dry cropping season at the Experimental Farm of the Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Benin, Benin City to examine the effects of location of pruning on some vegetative and reproductive attributes of tomato varieties. The trial was laid out in a 3 × 4 factorial arrangement fitted in a randomized complete block design in three replicates with twelve treatment combinations per replicate and 36 for the whole replicates consisting of four location of pruning, P1 (pruning the tips only), P2 (pruning the lateral suckers only), P3 (pruning the tips and lateral suckers) and P0 (control, i.e., no pruning) on three varieties of tomatoes V1 (Cobra), V2 (Roma VF) and V3 (UC82). The results showed that Cobra variety produced higher fruit weight/plant (37.86 g) and more number of rotted fruits (1.42) than other varieties. Roma VF showed superiority in number of branches /plant (22.58) compared with Cobra variety (15.42) and UC82 (14.67). Pruning at P1 and P0 increased number of branches (23.33 and 21.89) than P2 (14.56) and P3 (10.44) Number of leaves increased in P1 compared with P2 and P3 and the leaf area increased at P3 (36.32 cm2) more than P0 (28.34 cm2). The rotted fruits increased in this order P2, P3 > P0, P1. Since pruning increased the number of rotted fruits/plant but produced non-significant increases in fruit weight/plant (g) and fruit yield (t ha-1), any of the three varieties of tomato could be used in Edo rain forest zone of Nigeria at no pruning.
Keywords: cultural practices, leaf area, rotted fruits, stem diameter, suckers