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Theo J. Blom and Brian D. Piott

Low volume drip (2 l/h) was compared with 2 subirrigation ('trough' and `ebb and flo') systems for production of poinsettias and chrysanthemums in 15 cm diameter (1.6 l) `azalea' pots. Irrigation frequency as well as fertilizer rates were the same for all systems. The drip system received 280 ml per watering.

Two plantings of poinsettias (fall) as well as two plantings of chrysanthemums (spring and summer) showed no differences in plant growth between the drip and the subirrigation systems. Water uptake by the medium was similar for all irrigation systems, but water and fertilizer application was 70% higher for the drip system. Nutrients, measured at 4 depths within the pot at monthly intervals, increased with time and was markedly more concentrated in the top layer, regardless of the irrigation system.

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Trisha Blessington Haley and David Wm. Reed

Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of K fertilizer rates on growth of New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens Hawkeri Bull.), vinca (Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don) and petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Hort. Vilm.-Andr.) in a recirculating subirrigation system. Based on a variety of growth parameters, a broad range of K concentrations allowed maximum growth, notably 1 to 6 mM for New Guinea impatiens `Ovation Salmon Pink Swirl', 2 mm for New Guinea impatiens `Cameo' and `Illusion', 2 to 8 mm for vinca `Pacifica Apricot', and 2 to 16 mm for petunia `Trailing Wave Misty Lilac'. Thus, the lowest concentration that allowed maximum growth was 1 to 2 mm K. A third experiment compared the optimum K concentration and K balance of vinca grown with recirculating subirrigation versus top-watering. Based on a variety of growth parameters of vinca `Pacifica Red', the lowest concentration that allowed maximum growth was 2 mm K with recirculating subirrigation and 4 mm K with top-watering. The K balance demonstrated that subirrigated plants were twice as efficient in K use compared to the top-watered plants. Leachate loss was the major contributor to inefficiency in top-watered plants. Electrical conductivity (EC) of the growing medium remained below the recommended level of 1.2 dS·m-1 in both irrigation methods at K concentrations of 16 mm and below in the bottom layer and 8 mm and below in the middle layer. In the top layer of the growing medium, EC was above the recommended level at all K concentrations tested in subirrigation at all concentrations, and in top-watering at 16 mm and above.

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Jinrong Liu, W. Roland Leatherwood, and Neil S. Mattson

and water use efficiency ( Uva et al., 1998 ). Subirrigation is an alternative irrigation method whereby the applied irrigation water and dissolved fertilizer nutrients are applied to the bottom of the container through the use of capillary mats, ebb

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Nancy Morgan Todd and David Wm. Reed

New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri Bull.) were grown in a recirculating ebb-and-flow subirrigation system under increasing levels of salinity stress from a mixture of NaCl and CaCl2 (1:1 equivalent ratio, 2:1 molar ratio) and recommended production levels of other nutrients. Growth and quality decreased as salinity level increased, with a 75% to 80% growth reduction at 18 mol·m-3 NaCl-CaCl2 compared to controls. Among controls, root mass distribution was 10%, 50%, and 40% in the top, middle, and bottom layers of the root zone, respectively. In the highest salinity treatment (18 mol·m-3 NaCl-CaCl2), most of the root mass was in the middle layer (80%), while the root mass in the top and bottom layers was reduced to 5% and 15%, respectively. The electrical conductivity (EC) of the growing medium was high in the top layer in all treatments, but only exceeded maximum recommended levels in the middle and bottom layers in the 4·mol·m-3 or higher treatments. Initial postproduction leaching caused the salts in the top layer to migrate to the middle and bottom layers, which in some experiments induced a rapid and transient wilting. Up to six leaching and drying cycles of a 0.20 leaching fraction were required to reduce EC in all layers to recommended levels. Overall, salable plants of good quality and size were produced with up to 2 mol·m-3 (total 152 mg·L-1) NaCl-CaCl2 in the recirculated nutrient solution.

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Takafumi Kinoshita and Masaharu Masuda

The efficiency of nutrient and water use is generally higher with subirrigation than with drip irrigation because subirrigation greatly reduces water leaching ( Goodwin et al., 2003 ; Incrocci et al., 2006 ; Santamaria et al., 2003 ). For uniform

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Hongvi Zhang and William R. Graves

Use of subirrigation to root stem cuttings was compared to using mist, and effects of fertilization during subirrigation were determined. All cuttings of Dendranthema ×grandiflorum (Ramat.) Kitamura `Charm' and Coleus ×hybridus Voss. rooted, but misted D. ×grandiflorum `Charm' had a higher mean root mass than subirrigated cuttings. Percentage rooting and mean root mass of subirrigated Acer rubrum L. `Franksred' were 95% and 321 mg, whereas mean root mass of the 21% of cuttings that rooted with mist was 38 mg. Percentage cuttings with callus, mean callus diameter, rooting percentage, and mean root mass of Syringa retuculata (Blume) Hara were 77%, 124 mm, 21%, and 52 mg with subirrigation and 45%, 63 mm, 0%, and 0 mm with mist. Subirrigation with <7 mol N/m3 improved rooting of Impatiens hawkeri Bull. `Celebration Bright Scarlet' and A. rubrum `Franksred'. Subirrigation can replace mist, and effects of fertilizer in subirrigation solution vary among taxa.

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Lyn A. Gettys and Kimberly A. Moore

, 0.45, 0.91, or 1.83 g/pot N). Plants were divided into two groups that received either overhead irrigation or subirrigation. Plants receiving overhead irrigation were grown on nursery benches in a completely randomized design with respect to

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Jeff Million, Tom Yeager, and Claudia Larsen

irrigation, capillary wick irrigation reduced cumulative irrigation volume 86% without sacrificing plant growth. Traditional subirrigation systems such as ebb-and-flow and flood-floor irrigation ( Barrett, 1991 ; Neal and Henley, 1992 ) are closed systems

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Lyn A. Gettys and Kimberly A. Moore

transplanting. Plants were randomly selected for placement into either overhead irrigation or subirrigation treatments. Plants receiving overhead irrigation were grown on greenhouse benches in a completely randomized design with respect to substrate type and

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Thomas Holt, Brian K. Maynard, and William A. Johnson

Subirrigation is a viable alternative to mist for the cutting propagation of many woody and herbaceous plants. However, poor success has been reported with rhododendron cuttings. This study evaluated the rooting of two Rhododendron cultivars in a subirrigation system maintained at two different levels of substrate pH. Stem cuttings of Rhododendron `PJM' and R. `Catawbiense album' were wounded, treated with Dip `n Grow (1:10 dilution), and rooted in subirrigated perlite subirrigated with tap water (pH 7.5), or tap water adjusted to pH 4.5 with weak sulfuric acid (1N H2SO4). Percent rooting and root ball displacement were recorded after 7 weeks. The pH of the subirrigation system dramatically affected root initiation and development. At pH 4.5 `PJM' cuttings rooted 100% with an average displacement of 7.6 ml; cuttings of `Catawbiense Album' rooted 88% with an average displacement of 12.1 ml. At pH 7.5, `PJM' cuttings rooted 52.5%, with an average displacement of 0.8 ml, while `Catawbiense album' rooted 73% with an average displacement of 2.5 ml. A root ball displacement of ≥3 ml was judged to be commercially acceptable for rooted cuttings of `PJM' rhododendron, ≥4.5 ml for `Catawbiense album'. At pH 7.5 only 15% of the `Catawbiense album' cuttings and none of the `PJM' cuttings produced commercially acceptable rooted cuttings. At pH 4.5, 83% of the `Catawbiense album' cuttings and 93% of the `PJM' cuttings were commercially acceptable. Subirrigation is a suitable method of irrigating rhododendron cuttings during rooting if a low substrate pH is maintained.