What is the impact of leaf removal in the early stage?

The development of a tomato crop is controllable by plant type, climate, irrigation and fertilization. When handling the crop, you can also manipulate the growth by removing a leaf or by cutting and pruning the vines. In the WUR-research project ‘Het Nieuwe Gewas’ these last actions proved to have a marked effect on the distribution of a crops phloem, the living tissue that carries organic nutrients.

By removing more leaves at an early stage, less phloem goes to the leaves and more to the fruit. This is an appealing result, which the researchers want to repeat in the coming season in crop with artificial lighting as well.

In the follow-up project, they want to research if there is any change in the physiological processes; breathing of leaves and fruit (dissimilation), photorespiration and transport and distribution of phloem by the removal of leaves. This is in combination with the leaf area index. 

The aim of the research is to better understand these processes. Will the reactions be different in the winter under artificial lighting than in the summer with natural light?

Source: Wageningen UR

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