Sam E. Wortman
Ashley A. Thompson
Date of this Version
Poster presentation, UCARE Research Fair, Spring 2020, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Grafting has been successfully used in vegetable production for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, and watermelon. Besides its usefulness for managing soil-borne diseases, grafting can improve nutrient uptake and yield. However, few studies have assessed the effects of grafting and soil fertility management on yield of open field-grown tomatoes in the Midwest. Therefore, the objective of this two-year research was to better document the effects of grafting heirloom and hybrid tomato cultivar onto hybrid tomato rootstocks on tomato yield and quality. The field experiments were located at the University of Nebraska Lincoln - East Campus in Lincoln, West Central Research and Extension Center in North Platte, and a farm trial at Perkarek’s Vegetable Farm near Dwight, Nebraska. Two determinant fresh market tomatoes, ‘Nebraska Wedding’ and ‘BHN-589’, were grafted onto two rootstocks, ‘Estamino’ and ‘Maxifort,’ with the non-grafted determinant market tomatoes as a control. During the second year of this study, fertilizer treatment was introduced with two N rates (0% and 100%). At the end of the growing season, ripe tomatoes were harvested on a weekly basis, and yield was determined by weighing all tomatoes from the five plants in each experimental unit. Overall, there was no consistent improvement in total yield for any of the grafting treatments, and the estimated total mean yield of BHN-589 was at least 50% more than Nebraska Wedding. Moreover, there was no interaction effect between grafting and fertilizing treatment within each location. Results from this study suggest the need for more assessment on the effect of tomato grafting under different environmental conditions.