Nitrate Nitrogen Movement through the Soil Profile beneath a Containerized Greenhouse Crop Irrigated with Two Leaching Fractions and Two Wetting Agent Levels

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-4067

`Rose Grenadine' and `Buckaroo' garden chrysanthemums [Dendranthema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura] were produced in 15-cm pots in the greenhouse and fertilized with either 550 or 1000 ml of a 15 mol·m-3 N solution at each irrigation. The nutrient solution applied to half the pots contained a wetting agent (WA), and the remaining pots received no WA. Core samples were removed at 15-cm increments to a depth of 90 cm from the soil beneath the pots. The average leaching fraction (LF) from pots receiving a WA was 0.29 but was 0.26 from pots receiving no WA. However, WA did not affect the leachate NO3-N concentration or the total NO3-N deposited on the soil beneath; these were most influenced by LF. After week 2, NO3-N concentration in the upper 15 cm soil layer was 3.4 times higher with a high LF than with a low LF (30 and 8.8 g·m-3 respectively). At week 10, the NO3-N concentration in the 30 to 45 cm soil layer averaged 71.9 g·m-3 under the high LF and 35.5 g·m-3 under the low LF. Total N and NO3-N in the potting medium was higher in the low LF pots than the high LF pots, while NO3-N was higher in the medium of pots irrigated without WA than with WA. Final plant shoot mass was higher in pots irrigated to a high LF or without WA than in pots irrigated to a low LF or with WA.