Response of contrasting tomato cultivars to depth of applied mulch and irrigation frequency under hot, dry tropical conditions


  • M.B. Kwapata University of Malawi, Department of Crop Production, Bunda College of Agriculture, PO Box 219, Lilongwe, Malawi


Tomato, Mulching depth, Irrigation frequency, Yield


Mulching depth and irrigation frequency for optimum production of one determinate and one indeterminate tomato cultivar were studied under hot, dry tropical conditions. No substantial yield increase was achieved by applying a dried barnyard grass surface mulch beyond 10 cm depth. Disease, insect pests and sunburn-damaged fruits were less with increasing mulching depth from the determinate cv. CL 11D, but not for the indeterminate cv. Redkhaki. The yields of both cultivars improved with increasing irrigation frequency from two to four times week-1, with 1.51 of water applied plant-1 at each irrigation time. The number of fruits plant-1 increased with increasing irrigation frequency, but not with increasing mulching depth. Larger fruit sizes were associated with higher irrigation frequencies and greater mulching depths. A mulching depth of 10 cm and irrigation frequency of three times week-1 were adequate for optimum tomato production.



Research Papers