Influence of ethephon on the vegetative growth, flowering, fruiting and quality of the tomato, Lucopersicon esculentum Mill.

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When applied to tomato seedlings at two or three weeks after pricking out and at flowering, ethephon, at 250, 500 or 1,000 ppm resulted in retarded growth. This retardation was observed with plants grown in pots and also those planted in the open. Further observations included the occurrence of leef epinasty, end an increase in leaf production, stem thickness, anthocyanin content and the production of aerial roots at the base of the atoms. Flower bud initiation, anthesis end fruit set were delayed, except in the application was made three weeks after the seedlings had been pricked out. Harvesting was early for plants sprayed three weeks after pricking out but late for all other treatments. Total, early and marketable yield were either decreased in some treatments or were similar to that of the control plants in the field-grown plants. For plants grown in pots, there was an increase in total yield (fruit number) for those sprayed three weeks after pricking out. Marketable fruit number was also slightly increased but unmarketable fruit number was less for those sprayed with 250 ppm ethephon. Locule number was increased and seed number decreased in the Improved Zuarungu cultivar, particularly when treated with low concentrations of 250 or 500 ppm. Preharvest applications of 1,000 ppm ethephon caused early and concentrated Marketable yield. Dipping the nature green fruits in ethephon caused early ripening. No difference were oberved in pH or colour at the fruits but slight increases in titratable acidity and soluble solids of fruits were observed in all three experiments.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Horticulture, Faculty of Agriculture in partial fulfilment for a degree of Master of Science (Horticulture), 1973