Impact of post-infiltration soil aeration at different growth stages of sub-surface trickle-irrigated tomato plants
Yuan Li 1, 2
,  
Zong-xia Jia 1
,  
Wen-Quan Niu 1, 3, 2
,  
 
 
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1
Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A and F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, China
2
Institute of Water-Saving Agriculture in Arid Areas of China (IWSA), Northwest A and F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, China
3
Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling, Shaanxi Province, 712100, China
Publication date: 2016-06-06
 
Int. Agrophys. 2016, 30(3): 331–337
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ABSTRACT
Sensitivity to low rhizosphere soil aeration may change over time and therefore plant response may also depend on different growth stages of a crop. This study quantified effects of soil aeration during 5 different periods, on growth and yield of trickle-irrigated potted single tomato plants. Irrigation levels were 0.6 to 0.7 (low level) or 0.7 to 0.8 (high level) of total water holding capacity of the pots. Soil was aerated by injecting 2.5 l of air into each pot through the drip tubing immediately after irrigation. Fresh fruit yield, above ground plant dry weight, plant height, and leaf area index response to these treatments were measured. For all these 4 response variables, means of post-infiltration aeration between 58 to 85 days after sowing were 13.4, 43.5, 13.7, and 37.7% higher than those for the non-aerated pots, respectively. The results indicated that: post-infiltration soil aeration can positively impact the yield and growth of sub-surface trickle-irrigated potted tomato plants; positive effects on plant growth can be ob-
tained with aeration during the whole growth period or with aeration for partial periods; positive growth effects of partial periods of aeration appears to persist and result in yield benefit.
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