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Effect of deficit irrigation on growth and development of tomato plant (Lycopersicon esculentum mill.)
Differing amounts of water were used to irrigate tomato in order to determine the effect of deficit irrigation on the growth, development and yield of tomato plants. A randomized complete block design with four (4) treatments and three (3) replications was adopted. Treatment one (T1), two (T2), three (T3), and four (T4) were the applications of 100%, 80%, 70%, and 60% of the calculated crop water requirement. Parameters such as leaf area, number of fruits, fruit size and fruit weight per plant, were measured. NPK levels at the start and end of the experiment were also determined. Decline in NPK levels from the start to the end of the experiment were in the order T2 > T1 > T3 > T4. Significant differences were observed in all the parameters determined during the mid season (flowering and fruiting) stages of the plants. In terms of all the parameters measured, at the end of the experiment, growth was in the order T2 > T1 > T3 > T4. This implies that a 20% reduction in the crop water requirement will enable tomato plants grow better. A water reduction of 30% or more will however have a negative effect on growth of tomato.