Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Martin Stone (Director), Dr. David Stiles, Dr. Elmer Gray

Degree Program

Department of Agriculture

Degree Type

Master of Science


Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) are one of the most popular vegetable crops grown for fresh market and processing in the U.S. Grafting involves the uniting of a shoot or bud scion with a rootstock to form a compound plant, mainly for managing soil-borne diseases and increasing crop yield. The objectives were to examine the effects of reciprocal and self grafts on tomato fruits, number of fruits, weight, and quality of the cultivars, ‘Cherokee Purple’, ‘Mister Stripey’, ‘Crista’, and ‘Maxifort’. Grafted seedlings were planted at WKU Farm on raised beds, protected with red or black plastic mulch under drip irrigation system with regular supply of water. Matured fruits were harvested, weighed, and number of fruits from each plant recorded. The highest yielding combination was the scion ‘Cherokee purple’ on ‘Maxifort’ rootstock, which produced 304g and 745g heavier fruits than ‘Crista’ and ‘Mister Stripey’, respectively. The quality grade of ‘Crista’ was superior to ‘Cherokee Purple’ and ‘Mister Stripey’ while ‘Mister Stripey’ produced the greatest number of fruits but were of lower quality. Fruits from plants grown on red plastic mulch were significantly larger, heavier, and were of higher quality than those grown on black plastic mulch. However, plants grown on black plastic mulch produced significantly more fruits per plant. There was little advantage for self-grafting of ‘Cherokee Purple’ and ‘Crista’. However, ‘Mister Stripey’ was responsive to self-grafting and merits further investigation. The best rootstock was ‘Maxifort’ which produced the biggest, heaviest fruits of the best quality. ‘Cherokee Purple’ as a scion produced the largest and heaviest fruits, while ‘Crista’ produced the highest quality fruits. ‘Mister Stripey’ was the most prolific in terms of number of fruits per plant.


Agronomy and Crop Sciences | Food Science