The effect of calcium foliar fertilization on yield and fruit quality of field grown tomato
Alinaitwe, Herbert Ochan
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Foliar feeding is a potential technology for applying plant nutrients effectively and conveniently. However, the use of these products, types and knowledge among different farmers presents a knowledge gap. A research study was undertaken to study the effect of CalMax (N, CaO (Ca2+(15%), MgO, Mn, Fe, B, Cu, Zn, and Mo) foliar fertilizer application on the tomato plants for both season one (Wet Season) and Season two (Dry Season). The research was laid out in Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with four factors replicated three times. Tomato plants were sprayed with a single source of Calcium, which was split into three different concentrations, that is to say CalMax (150mls, 250mls and 350mls)/100Lrs of water. The spraying was done nine times at an interval of one week. The data collected from the two different seasons was combined for analysis since it was not much different. The experimental results showed that highest average plant height (36.7 cm) T0, was recorded with the control, highest average flower number (28.17) T2 were recorded with a moderate concentration of CalMax (250 mls/100lrs water) whereas highest fruit yield (2464 kg/ha) were recorded with T2 (250 mls/100mls of water). Blossom end rot yield was highest (311kg/ha) in control (T0) and lowest (62 kg/ha) with T3 (350 mls/100mls of water) T3. Plants that received 0 Ca2+ (control) exhibited the highest incidence of Blossom end rot (11.07%) and those that received the highest concentration of Ca2+, exhibited the least incidences of Blossom end rot (1.87%). Plants that received highest Ca2+ concentrations as well showed highest fruit firmness (0.1397 Kg/cm2) and TSS (3.040oBrix) both for T3 while those that received lowest Ca2+ concentrations (T0) showed the least fruit firmness (0.0923 kg/cm2) and TSS (2.543oBrix) both for T3. Therefore, Ca2+ sources and concentrations significantly affected all the studied attributes. However, a correlation analysis was performed that showed a significant strong negative correlation (-0.8079) between fruit firmness and Blossom end rot incidence. It is concluded from the present results that Calcium foliar fertilizer can address fruit quality parameters successfully since a specific nutrient is provided to the crop. T3 (350mls/100lrs of water) was the best application rate for reduced Blossom end rot incidence, improved fruit firmness and TSS implying that farmers can actually apply calcium foliar fertilizers Ca2+ as a remedy for blossom end rot at all seasons.