Yield, Yield Components and Seed Germination of Maize (Zea mays L.) at Different Defoliation and Tassel Removal Treatments
Field and laboratory experiments were conducted in 2011 to determine the effect of tassel removal and intensity of defoliation on yield of maize. The field experiment consisted of four defoliation treatments (D1= control, no leaf removal; D2= defoliation of leaves at the top of the ear; D3= defoliation of leaves under the ear; D4= defoliation of all leaves) and two tassel removal treatments (T1= no tassel removal, T2= tassel removal). Seeds in the field experiment were used in the laboratory experiment. In the latter, the germination traits of seed produced from plants under defoliation treatments were tested. Under no tassel removal, defoliation of leaves under the ear resulted in higher seed yield compared with defoliation of leaves at the top of the ear. Plants under complete defoliation had the lowest seed yield, ear weight, number of rows per ear, cob weight and 100-seed weight, but had higher seed germination percentage, rate and vigor (p < 5%). These results provide evidence of maternal environmental effects on germination in maize.
Key Words: defoliation, maize, maternal plant effects, seed vigor, tassel removal