This study aimed to differentiate and identify the best soil field capacity for good plant growth and optimization of yield. Tomato is an herbaceous crop that needs an adequate amount of water for growth and yield optimization. This experiment was conducted in pots in a greenhouse to examine the effect of water stress on the growth, yield, and shelf-life of five tomato varieties namely Padma F1, Cobra F1, Symbal F1, Titanium F1 and Nkansah GH. This research was conducted at the project site of the NEIP Envirodome greenhouse at the Dawhenya irrigation scheme in Ghana, from January 2017 to May 2019 for 5 cropping cycles. The tomato varieties were subjected to soil field capacity of 80-100FC%, 70-75FC%, 60-65FC% and 50-55FC% with three replications in a randomized complete block design. Plant height, stem diameter, internode length, leaf relative water content, stomata conductance, transpiration rate, yield, and shelf-life were the parameters measured to compute the effect of water stress on the different tomato varieties. Results from this study revealed that water stress decreased significantly leaf relative water content, stomata conductance, and transpiration rate at p<0.05. In conclusion, moderate water stress at field capacity 60-65 FC% resulted in optimizing plant morphological characteristics, physiological response, yield, shelf-life, and total soluble salt.
Key words: Water stress, tomato, crop physiology, crop morphology, yield, stomatal conductance, transpiration rate, relative leaf water content.
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