Water Table Depth Effect on Water Use and Tuber Yield for Subirrigated Caladium Production

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 5007 60 Street East, Bradenton, FL 34203.

A study was conducted to determine the effect of water table depth on water use and tuber yields for subirrigated caladium (Caladium × hortulanum) production. A field-situated drainage lysimeter system was used to control water table depths at 30, 45 and 60 cm (11.8, 17.7, and 23.6 inches). Water use was estimated by accounting for water added or removed (after rain events) to maintain the desired water table depth treatments. In 1998, tuber weights, the number of Jumbo grade tubers, and the production index (tuber value index) of `White Christmas' were greater when plants were grown with the water table maintained at 30 or 45 cm compared to 60 cm. In 1999, tuber weights, the number of Mammoth grade tubers, and the production index, also were greater when plants were grown at water table depths of 30 or 45 cm compared to 60 cm. The average estimated daily water use was 6.6, 5.1, and 3.3 mm (0.26, 0.20, and 0.13 inch) for plants grown at water table depths of 30, 45, and 60 cm, respectively, indicating an inverse relationship with water table depth. While current water management practices in the caladium industry attempt to maintain a 60-cm water table, results from this study indicate that, for subirrigated caladium tuber production, the water table should be maintained in at 30 to 45 cm for maximum production on an organic soil.

Contributor Notes

corresponding author; e-mail CDS@mail.ifas.ufl.edu.
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