The Effects of Drainage Hole Size on Container Leachate

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  • 1 1University of Tennessee, P.O 1071, Knoxville, TN 37901
  • 2 2Tennessee Tech University, Box 5034, Cookeville, TN 38505

One component of container production influencing the water quality concerns in the nursery industry is the amount of container effluent leaching from the container substrate. Potential exists for reduced water use, less leachate volume, and improved irrigation efficiency by altering the container design. This research compares the container leachate volume from a standard, 11.31 (# 3) container with seven 1.9-cm-diameter drainage holes to containers with one, three, or five holes with diameters of 1.9, 0.9, and 0.5 cm. Leachate volume was 41% less (312 to 182 mL) when the diameter of the drainage hole was reduced from 1.9 to 0.5 cm. Nitrate-N was 85% less (3093 to 452 mg) when the container drainage holes were reduced to 0.5 cm. Plant growth and quality of Lagerstroemia fauriei X L. indica `Hopi', crapemyrtle, was similar in all container modifications.

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