Effect of rootstock on growth dynamics and yield components of early watermelon cultivars

N. Toth, A. Sedlar, S. Radman, S. Fabek Uher, I. Žutić, B. Benko
Hybrid cultivars of watermelon have high yield potential, nutritional and functional value. However, many hybrid cultivars are sensitive to abiotic stress as well as soil-borne diseases and nematodes. Modern watermelon production regularly includes grafted seedlings. An appropriate combination of scion and rootstock can also have a positive effect on the yield and quality of the fruit. The study aimed to determine the compatibility of early hybrid cultivars of watermelon ‘Lady’ and ‘Early Samantha’ with rootstocks of different origins’ Emphasis’ (Lagenaria siceraria) and ‘Vitalley’ (Cucurbita maxima × C. moschata), based on the effect of grafting on vegetative growth and marketable yield. The field trial was conducted at Prkovci (45°12’52”N, 18°36’38”E; Vukovarsko-srijemska County) in Croatia in 2018. The experiment was tested in a randomized block design with four replications. Vegetative growth parameters, such as length, diameter and number of leaves of the main vine and number of secondary vines, were monitored five weeks after planting. In addition, the plant growth rate and the number and weight of marketable and non-marketable fruits were determined. The diameter and number of leaves of the main vine were more affected by the rootstock than scion. Higher relative growth rate of the main vine length of all scion/rootstock combinations at the beginning of growing period indicates a faster vegetative growth of younger plants. Both cultivars grafted on rootstock ‘Emphasis’ higher secondary vines number formed earlier and had relatively higher marketable fruits number and marketable yield, as well as significantly higher sugar content than on rootstock ‘Vitalley’. The marketable fruits weight was significantly affected by scion/rootstock combination and higher was achieved by ‘Lady’ × ‘Emphasis’ and ‘Lady’ × ‘Vitalley’ (10.45 and 10.55 kg fruit-1, respectively). All combinations achieved a satisfying marketable yield in a range from 85.2 t ha‑1 (‘Early Samantha’ × ‘Vitalley’) to 105.5 t ha‑1 (‘Lady’ × ‘Emphasis’).
Toth, N., Sedlar, A., Radman, S., Fabek Uher, S., Žutić, I. and Benko, B. (2021). Effect of rootstock on growth dynamics and yield components of early watermelon cultivars. Acta Hortic. 1320, 355-362
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1320.47
Citrullus lanatus, Lagenaria siceraria, Cucurbita maxima × Cucurbita moschata, morphological traits

Acta Horticulturae