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High levels of potassium provide high yields in tomato crops, as trial in UK shows. Tomatoes have a relatively high potassium requirement. There is usually 5.2 to 7.2lb of K taken into the plant for every tonne of tomato harvested.
Potassium has an important role in ensuring top quality fruit by determining the level of sugars, as well as ripening and storage characteristics. An inadequate supply of potassium in tomatoes can lead to uneven ripening (UK trials).
An inadequate level of potassium in tomatoes can also lead to blotchy ripening and color defects such as internal white tissues, as shown in studies in USA.
Studies in US also show higher incidence of yellow shoulder as a result of lower than adequate levels of potassium.
Higher levels of potassium in the tomato plant increases the acidity of the fruit and the resultant tomato juice, as can be seen in UK trials.
Maintaining high levels of potassium can help alleviate problems of rots caused by high nitrogen levels, as studies in US show.
Tomatoes have a relatively high potassium requirement compared to nitrogen with over 267 lb/ac of potassium typically being utilized. Potassium is needed throughout the season and is a major component of the fruit at around 250mg K per 100g of fruit. It is essencial to maintain a good balance of potassium with magnesium and calcium. Too much potassium restricts the uptake of these other cations. Use of high levels of potassium in tomatoes is particularly important under saline conditions to maintain plant growth. Excess sodium reduces the uptake and transfer of potassium through the plant and thus potassium levels need to be increased in order to maintain plant growth.
|Potassium at tomato growth stages|
|Establishment||Promotes strong early growth|
|Vegetative growth||Maximizes concentrations in leaf tissue prior to flowering|
|Flowering - fruit set||Maintains plant growth and maximize flower numbers|
|Fruit ripening - maturity||Maximizes high potassium levels in the fruit and minimize disorders|