Effect of temperature on melon development rate
Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Facultad de CienciasAgrarias, Departamento deProducción Vegetal, Kreder 2805, S3080HOF Esperanza, Santa Fe, Argentina;
The effect of temperature on melon (Cucumis melo L.) development was quantified by means of a phenological model proposed for this species. A field experiment was conducted on five melon cultivars: ‘DRT’ (Charentais), ‘Ruidera’ (Piel de Sapo type), ‘Row’ (Yellow), ‘Sundew’ and ‘Max Honex’ (Honey Dew type). Air temperature data were collected in the greenhouse and the field at hourly intervals over the growing season by using two thermocouples located 0.5 m above the plants connected to a meteorological station datalogger. The simplified model for calculating Hourly Thermal Units (UTH) was used as a function of air temperature. Cardinal temperatures utilized are 10 °C, 34 °C and 45 °C for Tb (base), To (optimum) and Tx (maximum), respectively. The ∑UTH was correlated with the crop development and calculated Plastochron Interval (PI). The results identify differences in phenology of cultivars in response to temperature. The PI was significantly higher during the initial stage of growth to about five leaves with respect to subsequent stages. These results may indicate the existence of major post-transplant stress, although their causes were not studied here. The methodology used to study the temperature effect on the crop would have a tool for quantifying and predicting crop phenometry in this crop. However, this methodology may be adapted for other crop management systems.