THE EFFECT OF STAKING AND PRUNING ON THE YIELD AND QUALITY OF FRESH MARKET TOMATOES IN EAST AFRICA

R.T. Wurster, S. Nganga
Tomatoes in East Africa are grown principally by small farmers who use a minimum of improved husbandry techniques; as a result yields are generally low. Thus, any practice implemented to increase yields and improve quality of fruit must be simple, inexpensive and applicable to small acreages. The results of experiments conducted in Uganda and Kenya to investigate the effects of such practices, particularly staking and pruning treatments, on the yield and quality of four fresh market tomato varieties are described in this paper.

In the major tomato growing areas of the world, pruning and staking are rarely practiced, primarily because of the increased labour requirement. A number of workers have studied the use of such practices and the results are conflicting. In temperate zones it has been reported that, although staking and pruning tended to increase fruit size and promote earliness of fruiting, total yields were reduced at plant populations from approximately 7 500 to 27 500 plants per hectare (Currence, 1941; Magruder, 1924; Strydom, 1955; Thompson, 1934). However, Deonier et al (1944), working in a warmer climate in the southern United States, reported that greater yields are obtained from staked and pruned tomatoes, compared with staked and non-pruned or nonstaked and non-pruned plants.

Results obtained with tomatoes in temperate zones do not, however, necessarily apply to the tropics. Campbell (1961) using a spacing of 1m x 0.5 m, reported that neither staking nor pruning was the most economical method of growing tomatoes in Trinidad. Chapman and Acland (1965), also working in Trinidad, stated that the deficiency of Campbell's study was that only one plant population density was used, while other workers, Deonier & Hoffman, Steinbauer and Parish (1944), Hawthorn (1939) and Thompson (1934) failed to design their experiments in such a way as to permit the separation of effects due to population density and pruning. The authors reported a significant increase in yield with increasing population densities and a reduction in yield in their staked-and-pruned treatments, but their methods of pruning are not described, Chapman & Acland (1965).

In Kenya, Jackson (1953), studied the effect of pruning on the yield of eleven tomato varieties and reported that seven varieties produced greater yields when pruned and staked while four of the varieties studied showed reduced yields with pruning and staking. Huxley (1962), in unreplicated

Wurster, R.T. and Nganga, S. (1971). THE EFFECT OF STAKING AND PRUNING ON THE YIELD AND QUALITY OF FRESH MARKET TOMATOES IN EAST AFRICA. Acta Hortic. 21, 110-115
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1971.21.18
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1971.21.18

Acta Horticulturae