Effect of Neutralizing Irrigation Water Alkalinity with Acid on Nutritional Status and Growth of Thryallis (Galphimia glauca Cav.)

in HortScience

Sources of irrigation water in South Florida typically contain high levels of dissolved carbonates and bicarbonates. Repeated application of high alkalinity water can cause substrate-solution pH to rise, thereby altering nutrient availability, and possibly leading to the development of nutrient disorders and a reduction in plant growth. The objectives of the current study were to determine the effects of neutralizing alkalinity of irrigation water on the nutritional status and growth of Thryallis (Galphimia glauca Cav.). Plants were grown in 11.4-L containers in a 5 peat: 4 pine bark: 1sand (v:v:v) mix. Treatments were prepared with water collected from a commercial nursery with inherent calcium carbonate levels in excess of 260 mg·L-1 and pH above 7.3. Treatments consisted of 0% (control), 40%, or 80% alkalinity neutralized with sulfuric acid. At harvest, 51 weeks after initiating treatments, foliar levels of Fe were 28% greater, Mn 55% greater, and Zn 27% greater in the 80% than 0% neutralized alkalinity treatment. Growth indices and leaf greenness averaged over the course of the study were significantly greater in the 40% than in the 0% or 80% alkalinity neutralized treatments. Over the course of the study, leachate pH averaged 7.5, 6.8, and 5.3; and electrical conductivity (EC) averaged 1.4, 1.9, and 2.2 dS·m-1 in the 0%, 40%, and 80% alkalinity neutralized treatments, respectively.

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