Tomato Water Management
Tomatoes require a constant supply of moisture during the growing season. In field situations, tomatoes require 214 – 706 thousand gallons/acre of water per season to produce a high yielding crop. In the greenhouse, each plant uses around 0.3 – 0.5 gallon of water every day – this is equivalent to around 1 million gal/ac per year.
Excess water, will however, lead to root death in anaerobic soil conditions, as well as delayed, less prolific flowering and fruit set. Too much water after fruit set induces several fruit disorders, most notably cracking.
Flowering is also adversely affected under conditions of low moisture stress. Blossom end rot (BER) also becomes a problem due to low water uptake leading to a low calcium uptake and distribution.
It is common practice in processing tomato crops to cease irrigation 2 – 4 weeks prior to harvest to maximize dry matter contents in the fruit and minimize soil compaction during harvest.