in HortScience
Author: Dan Drost1
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  • 1 Department of Plants, Soils, and Biometeorology, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-4820

In 1992, a long term study was initiated to determine water use of asparagus and to assess water stress effects on asparagus growth. Asparagus (Syn 4-56) crowns were planted and maintained at soil moisture levels near field capacity during the first year. In 1993, irrigation treatments based on 60, 40, and 0 percent of evapotranspiration (ET) were applied to asparagus during the fern growing period (mid-June to October). Soil moisture, shoot and root growth, and fern water potentials were measured throughout the year. Prior to the irrigation treatments, asparagus had 39 buds per plant with a shoot and root fresh weight of 573 and 270 grams, respectively. Soil moisture in the root zone (0 to 60 cm) approached the permanent wilting point in the 40%. and 0% of ET treatments by mid-August. A decrease in irrigation rate from 80 to 0% of ET had no effect on fern fresh weight at the end of the growing season. However, as irrigation rate decreased from 80 to 0% of ET, root fresh weight (586, 533, 415 grams) and bud number (78, 59, 53) decreased linearly. These results suggest yield and growth may be reduced in 1994.

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