RELATIONSHIPS OF IRRIGATION AND MEDIUM COMPOSITION TO TEMPERATURE DYNAMICS IN CONTAINER MEDIA

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  • 1 Department of Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Thermal properties of pine bark: sand container media as a function of volumetric water content and effectiveness of irrigation as a tool for modulating high temperatures in container media were studied. Volumetric water and sand content interacted to affect container medium thermal diffusivity. Adding sand to a pine bark container medium decreased thermal diffusivity if volumetric water content was less than 10 percent and increased thermal diffusivity if volumetric water content was between 10 and 70 percent. Thermal diffusivity was greatest for a 3 pine bark : 2 sand container medium if volumetric water content was between 30 and 70 percent. Irrigation was used to decrease temperatures in 10-liter container media. Irrigation water at 26°C was more effective if 1) volumes equaled or exceeded 3000 ml, 2) applications were made during mid-day, and 3) sand was present in the container medium compared to pine bark alone. However, due to the volume of water required to lower container media temperatures, nursery operators should first consider reducing incoming irradiance via overhead shade or container spacing.

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