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  • Author or Editor: Jesús Ochoa x
  • HortScience x
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Potted gerberas were grown in a greenhouse with one, two, or four emitters (1.2 L·h−1) per pot and irrigated with water of two levels of salinity (1.5 dS·m−1 and 3 dS·m−1). All pots received the same volume of water. The aim was to determine whether the number of emitters per pot affects the distribution of roots and salts in the substrate (100% coconut fiber). We determined the electrical conductivity (EC) distribution at three different heights (upper, middle, and lower). We also studied the roots and EC horizontal distribution in four quadrants (southeast, southwest, northwest, and northeast). Shoot growth, leaf damage, plant water status, and photochemical capacity of photosystem II were also studied. Two or four emitters per pot reduced the leaching fraction compared with that observed with one emitter, improving both the amount and homogeneity of substrate moisture. In the two saline conditions used, the salt concentration in the substrate was irregular both vertically and horizontally, and the presence of roots in the horizontal quadrant sides was heterogeneous. Both of these behaviors decreased as the number of emitters per pot increased. Root growth was weakly related with the soluble salt content in the root zone. When saline water is used, two emitters per pot are to be recommended because the difference between using two and four emitters was very slight. The use of only one emitter reduced shoot and root growth and encouraged salt damage to leaves.

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