New Guinea impatiens `Barbados' (Impatiens ×hawkeri) were fertilized with solutions containing N at 6, 12, or 18 mmol·L-1 delivered from a drip irrigation system with either minimum leaching or standard leaching (0.3 to 0.4 leaching fraction). Irrigation was monitored and controlled by computers using microtensiometers placed in representative pots of each treatment. In two separate experiments, growth index, fresh mass, and dry mass were dependent upon both fertilizer concentration and irrigation treatment. Maximum growth overall was achieved at 12 mmol·L-1 N regardless of irrigation treatment; however, standard-leached plants receiving N at both 6 and 18 mmol·L-1 produced larger plants than did similarly fertilized minimum-leached plants. Leaf scorch, spotting, or marginal necrosis did not occur in any of the treatments. Leaf N, P, and K concentrations were highest in plants treated with N at 18 mmol·L-1, but Ca, Mg, and several micronutrients were highest in plants at 6 mmol·L-1 N. At the end of the cropping period for both experiments, growing medium electrical conductivity (EC) in the uppermost one-third layer of the pot was two to four times as high as that in the bottom two-thirds (root zone) layer. Root-zone EC ranged from 0.6 to 4.0 dS·m-1 and increased as fertilizer concentration increased. Standard leaching had little effect in reducing root-zone EC except in plants fertilized with N at 18 mmol·L-1. All plants continued to perform well and flower after 4 weeks in a simulated interior environment. Minimum-leach drip irrigation used ≈35% less solution than did standard irrigation with leaching, and eliminated N runoff.
Harvey J. Lang and Timothy R. Pannkuk
Ian A. Merwin, Tammo S. Steenhuis, and John A. Ray
Non-point source water pollution by agrichemicals is a recognized problem that has been studied in agronomic crop systems, and simulated using computer models or artificial soil columns, but rarely measured at field scale in orchards. For three growing seasons, we monitored the movement of nitrate and pesticide analogs and a widely used fungicide (benomyl) in two apple orchards under four different groundcover management systems (GMSs), including turfgrass, wood-chip mulch, residual pre-emergence herbicides, and post-emergence herbicide treatments. In subsoil lysimeter samplers at one orchard, we observed that nitrate and pesticide analogs leached more rapidly and in higher concentrations under herbicide plots compared with turfgrass plots. At another orchard where subsoil leaching and surface runoff of benomyl and nitrate-N were monitored in replicated GMS plots, we observed higher concentrations of benomyl (up to 30 μg·liter–1) and nitrate-N up to 50 μg·liter–1) leaching under herbicide GMS. The highest benomyl concentrations (375 μg·liter–1) and most frequent runoff of this pesticide were observed in the residual pre-emergence herbicide plots. Yearly weather patterns, irrigation, and development of different soil physical conditions under the four GMSs determined the relative magnitude and frequency of agrichemical leaching and runoff in both orchards. The agrichemicals apparently leached by mass flow in preferential flowpaths such as old root channels and soil cracks, while surface chemical runoff occurred mostly adsorbed on eroding soil sediment. These observations indicate that orchard GMSs can have a significant impact on leaching and runoff of pesticides and nutrients.
Donald J. Merhaut and Julie P. Newman
Lilies are produced throughout the year in coastal areas of California.
Cultural practices involve daily applications of water and fertilizer, using both controlled release fertilizers (CRF) and liquid fertilizers (LF). However, many production facilities are in proximity to coastal wetlands and are therefore at greater risk of causing nitrogen pollution via runoff and leaching. Due to federal and state regulations, nurseries must present a plan of best management practices (BMPs) to mitigate nutrient runoff and leaching and begin implementing these practices in the next 2 years. In the following studies, we determined the potential for nitrate leaching from four different types of substrates (coir, coir: peat, peat, and native soil). There were four replications of each treatment, with a replication consisting of one crate planted with 25 bulbs. Two cultivars were used in two separate experiments, `Star Fighter' and `Casa Blanca'. Nitrate leaching was determined by placing an ion-exchange resin bag under each crate at the beginning of the study. After plant harvest (14–16 weeks), resin bags were collected and analyzed for nitrate content. Plant tissues were dried and ground and analyzed for nitrogen content. Based on the results of these studies, it appears that the use of coir, peat, and soil may not influence plant growth significantly. Substrate type may mitigate the amount of nitrate leaching through the media. However, the cultivar type may also influence the degree of nitrate mitigation, since leaching results varied between the two cultivars.
Luther C. Carson and Monica Ozores-Hampton
nutrients in the root zone by physical barriers (coating), reduced solubility, or retaining nutrients in a less leachable form ( Trenkel, 2010 ). There are three subgroups of EEFs with different characteristics for horticultural production systems. Slow
John W. Pote, Chhandak Basu, Zhongchun Jiang, and W. Michael Sullivan
Leaching-induced N losses have been shown to be minimal under turfgrasses. This is likely due to superior ability of turfgrasses to absorb nitrate. No direct evidence for this theory has been reported. The present study quantified nitrate leaching under miniature turf and nitrate uptake by individual turfgrass plants, and established the relationship between nitrate leaching loss and nitrate uptake rate. Seedlings of six Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) cultivars, `Blacksburg', `Barzan', `Connie', `Dawn', `Eclipse', and `Gnome', were planted individually in polystyrene containers filled with silica sand. The plants were irrigated with tap water or a nutrient solution containing 1 mm nitrate on alternate days and mowed to a 5-cm height once each week for 25 weeks. Nitrate leaching potential was then determined by applying 15 to 52 mL of nutrient solutions containing 7 to 70 mg·L-1 nitrate-N into the containers and collecting leachate. After the leaching experiment, plants were excavated, roots were washed to remove sand, and the plants were grown individually in containers filled with 125 mL of a nutrient solution containing 8.4 mg·L-1 nitrate-N. Nitrate uptake rate was determined by monitoring nitrate depletion at 24-hour intervals. Leachate nitrate-N concentration ranged from 0.5 to 6 mg·L-1 depending on cultivar, initial nitrate-N concentration, irrigation volume, and timing of nitrate-N application. Significant intraspecific difference in nitrate uptake rate on a root length basis was observed. Nitrate uptake rate on a per plant basis was significantly (P ≤ 0.05) and negatively correlated (r = -0.65) with nitrate leaching loss. The results provide strong evidence that superior nitrate uptake ability of turfgrass roots could reduce leaching-induced nitrate-N losses.
Trials were conducted under California field conditions examining the impact of drip irrigation and nitrogen fertigation regime on in-season NO3-N leaching losses. Six field studies were conducted, 4 on tomato and 2 on pepper. Seasonal fertigation ranged from 0-440 kg N/ha; irrigation was applied 3X per week, with leaching fractions of 10-25% of applied water. NO3-N leaching losses were estimated both by suction lysimetry and the use of buried anion resin traps. A similar pattern was seen in all trials. From transplant establishment until early fruit set soil solution at 0.8 m had relatively high NO3-N concentration (>30 mg/liter), which declined as the season progressed; in the month before harvest soil solution NO3-N at 0.8 m was consistently below 10 mg/liter (tomato) and 15 mg/liter (pepper) in appropriately fertilized plots. Seasonal NO3-N leaching estimates were generally below 25 kg/ha (tomato) and 35 kg/ha (pepper), with only modest differences among fertigation regimes. These results suggest that well managed drip irrigation can minimize in-season NO3-N leaching.
Hudson Minshew, John Selker, Delbert Hemphill, and Richard P. Dick
Predicting leaching of residual soil nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) in wet climates is important for reducing risks of groundwater contamination and conserving soil N. The goal of this research was to determine the potential to use easily measurable or readily available soilclimatic-plant data that could be put into simple computer models and used to predict NO3 leaching under various management systems. Two computer programs were compared for their potential to predict monthly NO3-N leaching losses in western Oregon vegetable systems with or without cover crops. The models were a statistical multiple linear regression (MLR) model and the commercially available Nitrate Leaching and Economical Analysis Package model (NLEAP 1.13). The best MLR model found using stepwise regression to predict annual leachate NO3-N had four independent variables (log transformed fall soil NO3-N, leachate volume, summer crop N uptake, and N fertilizer rate) (P < 0.001, R 2 = 0.57). Comparisons were made between NLEAP and field data for mass of NO3-N leached between the months of September and May from 1992 to 1997. Predictions with NLEAP showed greater correlation to observed data during high-rainfall years compared to dry or averagerainfall years. The model was found to be sensitive to yield estimates, but vegetation management choices were limiting for vegetable crops and for systems that included a cover crop.
Jianjun Chen, Yingfeng Huang, Zhen Yang, Russell D. Caldwell, and Cynthia A. Robinson
Containerized ornamental plant production represents extremely intensive agricultural production. An average of 200,000 containers may occupy 1 acre of surface area, to which a large amount of chemical fertilizers will be applied. Because of the use of high-drainage soilless potting mixes coupled with excessive fertigation, a great amount of nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, are leached, which increases the potential for ground and surface water contamination. Over the past 2 decades, research has been centered on developing fertigation delivery systems such as nutrient film techniques, ebb-and-flow and capillary mat systems, for reducing leaching. Relatively limited research has been conducted on improving potting medium substrates to minimize nutrient leaching. The objectives of this study were to determine the adsorption isotherm of six different zeolites to ammonium, nitrate and phosphorus, identify and incorporate desired zeolites in a peat/bark-based medium for reducing nutrient leaching in ornamental plant production. Results indicated that the zeolites possess great holding capacities for ammonium, nitrate, and phosphorus. Compared to control, ammonium leaching was reduced 70% to 90%, phosphorus 30% to 80% and nitrate 0% to 60% depending on zeolite species and quantity used per pot. Zeolite amended media caused no adverse effects on plant growth. Conversely, biomass increased significantly when compared to that of the control.
Charles F. Mancino and Joseph Troll
Combining frequent N applications and irrigations for turfgrasses grown in sandy soils is a common occurrence on golf course putting greens. A greenhouse study was conducted to determine leaching losses of nitrate and ammonium nitrogen from `Penncross' creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris L.) growing on an 80 sand:20 peat soil mixture following frequent, moderately heavy irrigations and light or moderate N fertilizer applications. Nitrogen sources included calcium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, urea, urea formaldehyde and isobutylediene diurea. Application levels were 9.76 kg N/ha per 7 days and 19.52 kg N/ha per 14 days for 10 weeks. Irrigation equivalent to 38 mm·week-1 was applied in three equal applications. Overall, 46% of the applied water leached. Total leaching losses were <0.5% of the applied N. Nitrate represented the major portion of the leached N, with ammonium losses being negligible. There were no differences between sources when applied at these levels. In a second study, a single 48.8 kg N/ha application resulted in higher leaching losses of N, but only calcium nitrate and ammonium nitrate had total losses > 2% (2.80% and 4.13%, respectively, over an n-day period). Nitrate concentrations were found to exceed 45 mg·liter-1 for ammonium nitrate.
Janet C. Cole and John M. Dole
A 3 pine bark: 1 peatmoss: 1 sand (by volume) medium was amended with 7.7 g P as superphosphate, triple superphosphate, ammonium phosphate, or controlled-release ammonium phosphate per 1000 g medium (3.8 liters). The medium was then leached with 250, 350, or 450 ml distilled, deionized water daily for 25 days. Phosphorus leaching curves were then generated for each fertilizer. A subsequent study determined the effect of these four P fertilizers on growth of marigold seedlings in the greenhouse. Superphosphate, triple superphosphate, and ammonium phosphate rapidly leached from the medium, while the controlled-release ammonium phosphate was retained for a longer time. Marigold growth was not affected by fertilizer type; however, marigolds grown in P-amended media were larger than those grown without P. These studies indicate that amending container growing medium with superphosphate or triple superphosphate prior to planting may not be cost-effective.