Root growth dynamics and fruit yield of melon (Cucumis melo L) genotypes at two locations with sandy loam and clay soils
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2016 Elsevier B.V. In a two year minirhizotron study (2011 and 2012), the root growth, yield and fruit quality responses of six melon genotypes to two locations with different soil types were investigated. The field experiments were conducted in south Texas at two locations viz. Uvalde with clayey (hyperthermic aridic calciustolls) and Weslaco with sandy loam (hyperthermic typic calciustolls) type soils, with subsurface drip irrigated using black plastic mulch. Root length intensity (La, cmcm2), marketable (MFY), total fruit yield (TFY; tha1), fruit firmness (N) and soluble solids content (SSC; Bx) of four TAMU inbreds and two commercial hybrids, Mission and Journey were measured. Root length intensity was lower in 2011 than in 2012, possibly due to the variations in climatic, and soil conditions, and minirhizotron tube artifacts. Sandy loam soil produced 77% higher La (1.6 vs. 0.9cmcm2) as compared to clay soil. Under sandy loam soils, root growth distribution was deeper (4070cm) while it was confined at the depth of drip tape (<30cm) in clay soils, which indicated that root growth distribution varies with soil type even under same irrigation system. Clay soils produced 40% and 24% higher MFY and TFY respectively as compared to sandy loam soils, most likely due to longer growing season at Uvalde. Texas A&M melon inbreds had similar La to most popular commercial cultivar Mission and higher La than Journey. These results reveal that under high input intensive production systems large root systems may not be required for high yielding potential, however under sandy loam soils cultivars vary in their root distribution patterns across soil depth. Further, the great rooting ability of TAMU breeding lines under different soil types and equivalent yield potential to commercial hybrids confirms their suitability as a potential parent for developing genetically improved and stable cultivars for a wide range of environments.
author list (cited authors)
Sharma, S. P., Leskovar, D. I., Crosby, K. M., & Volder, A.
complete list of authors
Sharma, Sat Pal||Leskovar, Daniel I||Crosby, Kevin M||Volder, Astrid