Root growth, yield, and fruit quality responses of reticulatus and inodorus melons (Cucumis melo L.) to deficit subsurface drip irrigation Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Water scarcity associated with intense and frequent droughts has increased the need for the implementation of drought adaptation strategies that can save water and sustain crop productivity in water limited environments. A two season (2011 and 2012) study evaluated root growth, yield and fruit quality responses of cvs. Mission (muskmelon; reticulatus), Da Vinci (tuscan; reticulatus) and Super Nectar (honeydew; inodorus) of melon (Cucumis melo L.) to two irrigation rates (100% and 50% crop evapotranspiration (ETc)) on a silty clay soil under the semi-arid conditions of Texas. Deficit irrigation (50% ETc) increased root length density (RLD) in Mission, decreased in Da Vinci and did not affect in Super Nectar. Marketable fruit yield at 100% ETc irrigation was 77.1tha-1 in 2011 and 78.7tha-1 in 2012, but deficit irrigation caused a 30% decrease in marketable yield in both seasons, mainly due to a reduction in fruit size. Yield responses to deficit irrigation also varied with cultivar. A significant yield reduction of 43% in 2011 and 33% in 2012 was measured in Super Nectar, while for cvs. Mission and Da Vinci the reduction in yield was 24% and 30%, respectively in 2012. Deficit irrigation had no adverse impact on melon fruit quality; rather it increased total soluble solids content (23%) in Mission and β-carotene content (25%) in Da Vinci in 2011. At 50% ETc, agronomic water use efficiency (WUE; kgha-1mm-1) was improved in Mission (13%) in 2012 while it decreased in Super Nectar (21%) in 2011. These results showed that deficit irrigation can save 37-45% of irrigation water in Mission and Da Vinci cultivars (reticulatus) with a moderate reduction in economic yield. This practice may not be applicable for cv. Super Nectar (inodorus), as it reduced yield without improving water use efficiency. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

author list (cited authors)

  • Sharma, S. P., Leskovar, D. I., Crosby, K. M., Volder, A., & Ibrahim, A.

citation count

  • 39

publication date

  • April 2014