Role of Phosphate in Tomato Production

Phosphorus is a component of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and essential for energy transfer within the plant. Thus it has a direct effect on yield and quality.

Phosphate effect at growth stages

Stage Phosphate effect                                                                              
Establishment Maximize root development
Vegetative Growth Ensure continued growth
Flowering - Fruit Set Fruit development
Fruit Ripening - Maturity Boost tomato nutritional quality
See more on Tomato Growth Stages.

General guidelines for Phosphate application

Phosphorus is not needed in large quantities. Around 44.6lb/ac is all that is required during the season for field grown crops. Phosphorus is used during early growth ensuring a good start for the crop and again at flowering and fruit set.

Phosphorus deficiencies in Tomato

When deficient in phosphorus, tomatoes have rigidly erect leaves which are dark green to bluish green in color. The stems are thin and fibrous with a dull purple discoloration. Flowering and fruiting is poor, fruit are small and firm and yellow prematurely. In some cultivars, phosphorus deficiency can also appear as small brown areas which develop interveinally on the lower leaves.

See more about phosphorus and other nutrients deficiencies in tomatoes on Tomato Crop Nutrition.