DOI: 10.3390/agronomy14030559 ISSN: 2073-4395

Evaluating Tomato Performance: A Novel Approach of Combining Full and Deficit Irrigation with Saline Water

Abdulaziz G. Alghamdi, Akram K. Alshami, Ahmed El-Shafei, Abdulrasoul M. Alomran, Arafat Alkhasha, Anwar A. Aly, Abdulaziz R. Alharbi
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

The tomato is a vital component of agriculture and is the second-most important vegetable globally. Maintaining a high tomato production requires both water quality and quantity. Water-scarce regions like Saudi Arabia still lack an understanding of the impact of deficit irrigation and the use of a blend of saline and freshwater, especially their nuanced impact across growth stages. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of six different irrigation amounts: full irrigation with 100% ETc (FI), regulated deficit irrigation with 60% ETc (DI), and deficit irrigation with 60% ETc, except for the initial (DI-int), development (DI-dev), mid-season (DI-mid), and late-season (DI-lat) stages. This was performed with three different water qualities: fresh (FW), saline (SW), and fresh-saline blend (1:1) (MW) water. FW and MW enhanced the growth, physiology, morphology, yield, and quality, while SW had the lowest values. DI reduced these parameters and lowered yields by 13.7%, significantly improving water use efficiency (WUE) by 44% and fruit quality. DI-mid or DI-lat slightly improved yields while remarkably decreasing WUE and fruit quality. DI outperforms deficit irrigation in all growth stages except one, and countries with limited freshwater resources can benefit from a mix of fresh and saline water with a 60% ETc deficit irrigation, resulting in greater water savings.

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