The Effect of Removal of Buds and Younger Leaves on Growth, Tuber Yield and Quality of Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) Grown Under Hot Tropical Lowland
AbstractA study was conducted to determine the effects of the removal of buds and younger leaves on the growth, yield and quality of potato grown in the hot tropical lowlands of Humbo, southern Ethiopia using two potato cultivars in 2006. Five pruning treatments viz. normal growing, removal of only terminal buds, removal of terminal buds along with associated younger leaves, removal of terminal buds and axillary buds, and removal of terminal buds and axillary buds along with associated younger leaves were applied to the two potato cultivars, Wochecha and Tolcha. A split plot design with three replications was employed and cultivars were assigned to the main plots while the pruning treatments were applied to the subplots. Although Wochecha cultivar developed tuber initials 1.28 days earlier than Tolcha, non-significant differences were observed between them with regard to plant height, total leaf area, above- and underground biomass yield, physiological maturity, tuber number and yield, mean tuber mass, tuber specific gravity and dry matter content. The removal of terminal and axillary buds as well as nipping off terminal buds, axillary buds and associated younger leaves decreased total leaf area, above and under-ground dry mass, delayed days to physiological maturity by about 8 days, increased tuber number by about 29%, tuber yield by 63.5%, average tuber mass by 26.5%, specific gravity by 1.56%, and dry matter content by about 17.5% the compared to the check. The results clearly indicated that removal of buds and younger leaves can improve tuber yield and the quality of potato grown under high temperatures. The results are of paramount importance to increase the productivity of potato in the hot lowland tropics where high temperatures are limiting factors in its successful production.
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