Irrigation management of tomato – Part 2.

In the second part of our series, we start with the critical periods of the rooting, and our aim is to draw the specialists’ attention to the tasks waiting for us until the 8th week.

GROWING PERIOD – PHASE 2: 3rd-8th weeks

Rooting and determining the standard values of the substrate.

Purpose

Continuous and uniformly controlled plant development, and the realization of a root system filling the entire substrate volume.

We can say that this phase of growing demands the most attention, as it determines the whole success of crop production. The mistakes made in the couple of weeks ahead are almost impossible to correct later.

Trutina is the best possible tool for providing feedback on our work already done through the evaluation of biomass data and the precise tracking of the irrigation.

Task crop

Our task is to create the most active climate so that the biggest possible absorbtion surface (leaf surface) could use up as much of the energy of the incoming light as possible, and also to maintain the vegetative-generative balance in the plants.

With the use of the Trutina, it is possible to follow the energy balance of your plants, which helps you prevent your plants from going into energy deficit.

As plants use a great deal of energy for building a strong root system, it is advisable to burn a little less energy in the second half of the day during this period – because the high afternoon temperature and low irradiation rob energy from the plants, -, so we need to avoide late irrigation phases. It is also recommended to provide energy surplus for the night, so that there would always be a sufficient amount of sugar for the building of the root system.

Let’s not be afraid of plants with a little more purplish colour as usual, because this indicates that they accumulate more energy reserves.

It is advisable to avoide using heating pipes close to the plants during the period of rooting.

Task rootzone

Our aim is that the root system of the plants fill in the whole substrate, by which the plants will be able to absorbe the amount of water and nutrients necessary to reach maximum summer yield and best possible quality.

We can increase the root system by gradually decreasing the water content of the substrate. Ideally this decrease is in the same pace day-by-day, meaning about 2.0-2.5% decrease in water content reaching the minimum value in 10-15 days, depending on substrate type. Then, we increase the water content of the substrate gradually for 7-10 days, until it reaches the suggested value of the standard substrate type.

The Trutina is an ideal tool for this task, which needs special attention, as the system shows us all the information in a way that they can be evaluated easily, which makes it possible to create and check our strategy. See screenshot:

The screenshot (shown below) represents an example for the realization of task rootzone. It is clearly visible that the correctly implemented rooting strategy does not cause any confusion in biomass production. It can also be seen clearly, that we can direct the decrease and increase of the weight of the substrate, even with the daily differences in irradiation values.

Our aim is to follow through a whole crop year and try to reveal the possible irrigation mistakes in each phenophase. We try to help determine the actual irrigation strategy and the vegetative vs generative effects of the past mistakes.

The data above can be used in case of standard tomato cultures with suitable technological background, in compliance with the required technological discipline.

Data from the chart above can be used based on the conditions set in the first part, in case of planting in low irradiation conditions.

 

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