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Effect of fruit removal on growth and biomass partitioning in cucumber

Peil, R.M., López-Gálvez, J.
Acta horticulturae 2002 no.588 pp. 69-74
biomass production, cucumbers, fruits, greenhouses, leaf area, leaves, raw fruit, shoots, stems, summer
Cucumber plants were grown under greenhouse and shading screen inducing conditions of diffuse light during summer, in Southern Spain, with two intensities of fruit removal: one fruit remaining per leaf axil (no fruit removal) and two fruits remaining per three leaf axils (fruit number manually restricted) to analyse the effects of fruit removal on biomass partitioning and growth of aboveground plant parts. The effects of fruit removal on biomass production were greater in terms of vegetative rather than total fruit growth, as well, in terms of dry rather than fresh weight. Increasing fruit removal intensity increased dry-matter allocation to the vegetative organs and the total aboveground dry-matter production. Although dry-matter production of the vegetative parts of the shoot strongly increased with increasing fruit removal intensity, the dry-matter allocation between stems and leaves was not affected. Dry-matter contend of leaves increased and specific leaf area decreased when the number of fruits on a plant was manually restricted, but fruit fresh and dry weight production and dry-matter contend were only slightly affected. Although the increasing fruit removal intensity, the number of harvested fruits per plant was not affected, as a result of a decreased abortion rate and an increased growth rate of the individual fruits (which in turn decreased the growing period from anthesis until harvest). Biomass partitioning and growth of fruits and vegetative organs are discussed in relation to the change of the balance between assimilates for different plant parts caused by sink demand reduction.