Survey of Container Nursery Irrigation Practices in Georgia

in HortTechnology
Authors:
M.P. GarberUniversity of Georgia, Cooperative Extension Service, P.O. Box 1209, Tifton, GA 31793.

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J. M. RuterUniversity of Georgia, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton, GA 31793.

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J.T. MidcapUniversity of Georgia, Hoke Smith Building, Athens, GA 30602.

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K. BondariDepartment of Experimental Statistics, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA 31793.

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A 2001 survey of 102 nurseries that were members of the Georgia Green Industry Association was conducted to assess irrigation practices of container ornamental nurseries. Mean nursery size was 64 acres (26 ha) and mean annual revenue was about $3 million. About 50% of the irrigation water was from wells and the other 50% came from surface sources, such as collection basins. Irrigation in smaller containers, including #1, #3, and #5, was applied primarily by overhead methods, while larger containers (#7, #15, #25) made extensive use of direct application methods, such as drip or spray stakes. Frequency of irrigation in the summer growing months was about three times that of the winter season. Georgia nurseries use irrigation practices suggested in Southern Nursery Association best management practices, including collection of runoff water (48%), cyclic irrigation (44%), watering in the morning (92%), and grass strips between the production beds and drainage areas (60%).

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