Nav: Home

Grafting increases Chilean-grown watermelon yield, quality

October 10, 2016

SANTIAGO, CHILE - Grafting of seedlings has been used for decades in many parts of the world, but adoption of the technique is still limited in many countries, due in part to higher costs of grafted seedlings and the uncertainty of grafting benefits under certain conditions. "Because of higher costs involved, the use of grafted seedlings can only be recommended if it provides clear biological and economic benefits," said Samuel Contreras, lead author of a study in the August 2016 issue of HortTechnology. Contreras and researchers at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile studied the effects on yield and quality with watermelon plants grown under Chilean field conditions. Their results showed that grafting increased both yield and quality of seeded and seedless watermelon cultivars.

Experiments were conducted over two seasons in central Chile. "During the two seasons previous to the experiments, watermelons were produced in the same field, and symptoms of fusarium wilt were observed in the test area," the authors explained.

In the first experiment, the researchers used four of the most popular seeded watermelon cultivars grown in Chile ('Santa Ameila', 'Delta', '1414', and 'Catira') grafted with commercial rootstocks 'Marathon' and 'Macis'. Nongrafted plants were used for treatment comparison. One seeded ('Santa Amelia') and three seedless ('Kalahari', 'SV0051WA', and 'SV7467WD') cultivars were used in the second experiment; each was grown ungrafted and grafted on 'Marathon' rootstock. Plants were evaluated in untreated soil and soil treated with metam sodium.

In both experiments, there were significant differences among treatments for fruit yield per plant. Productivity of grafted plants was always higher than nongrafted plants; average marketable yield of grafted treatments was 2.4 times (experiment 1) and 2.6 times (experiment 2) the average of nongrafted treatments. "These differences in productivity were explained because plants of a same cultivar produced more and heavier fruit when grafted," the authors said.

No significant differences were found in color and firmness between fruit of grafted and nongrafted plants in the first experiment, but grafted plants produced fruit with higher soluble solid concentration (SSC), rind thickness, and diameter than nongrafted plants. Fruit from seedless cultivars did not show significant differences in SSC.

Plants presented with fusarium wilt in both experiments, which the researchers said was the "main limitation" for nongrafted plant production.

Contreras said the results showed a significant improvement in yield and quality of grafted watermelons when produced in a field naturally infested with fusarium wilt. "However, economic justification of grafting depends on costs and benefits associated with the use of this technology. Production of more and larger fruit per plant would lead to higher income that would largely offset the costs of grafting, thus the technique appears highly recommendable for Chilean growers."
-end-
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/26/4/453.abstract

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org

American Society for Horticultural Science

Related Plants Articles:

Transgenic plants against malaria
Scientists have discovered a gene that allows to double the production of artemisinin in the Artemisia annua plant.
How plants can tell friend from foe
The plant's immune system can recognize whether a piece of RNA is an invader or not based on whether the RNA has a threaded bead-like structure at the end, say University of Tokyo researchers.
Plants at the pump
Regular, unleaded or algae? That's a choice drivers could make at the pump one day.
How do people choose what plants to use?
There are about 400,000 species of plants in the world.
Defend or grow? These plants do both
From natural ecosystems to farmers' fields, plants face a dilemma of energy use: outgrow and outcompete their neighbors for light, or defend themselves against insects and disease.
How do plants protect themselves against sunburn?
To protect themselves against UV-B, which are highly harmful, plants have developed cellular tools to detect them and build biochemical defenses.
Pea plants demonstrate ability to 'gamble' -- a first in plants
An international team of scientists from Oxford University, UK, and Tel-Hai College, Israel, has shown that pea plants can demonstrate sensitivity to risk -- namely, that they can make adaptive choices that take into account environmental variance, an ability previously unknown outside the animal kingdom.
A 'Fitbit' for plants?
Knowing what physical traits a plant has is called phenotyping.
How plants conquered the land
Research at the University of Leeds has identified a key gene that assisted the transition of plants from water to the land around 500 million years ago.
Plants are 'biting' back
Calcium phosphate is a widespread biomineral in the animal kingdom: Bones and teeth largely consist of this very tough mineral substance.

Related Plants Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".