Application strategies of saline water and nitrogen doses in mini watermelon cultivation
Salt stress is highlighted as one of the limiting factors for the establishment of agriculture in the semiarid region of Northeastern Brazil. In this context, it is essential to look for new strategies aiming at minimizing the effects of salt stress on the crops. The present work aimed to evaluate the photochemical efficiency, photosynthetic pigments, and growth of the watermelon cv. Sugar Baby under different use strategies with saline waters and nitrogen fertilization. The experiment was conducted in a protected environment at the Center of Technology and Natural Resources of the Federal University of Campina Grande, municipality of Campina Grande, Paraíba. An experimental design in randomized blocks was adopted, arranged in a 6 x 2 factorial scheme, with six management strategies of water salinity and two nitrogen doses (corresponding to 50 and 100% of the recommendation), with five replications. Two salinity levels of the irrigation water were studied, one with low and another with a high level of electrical conductivity of the water (ECw = 0.8 and 3.2 dS m-1). The watermelon cv. Sugar Baby expressed higher sensitivity to salt stress in the flowering phase, with a decrease in the synthesis of chlorophyll b, chlorophyll total, and carotenoids. The 50% dose of N provided an increment in the initial fluorescence, stem diameter, and the number of leaves of the watermelon cv. Sugar Baby. The length of the main branch of the watermelon plants decreased with the salt stress applied in the fructification phase; however, the fertilization with 100% of N stimulated a higher growth when the irrigation with saline waters was performed at the vegetative and flowering phases.
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