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  • Author or Editor: Bradley Ferguson x
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Nonweighing drainage lysimeters were used to measure seasonal water use of mature ‘Emerald’ southern highbush blueberry (SHB; Vaccinium corymbosum interspecific hybrid) plants grown in pine bark beds and in pine bark amended soil in north central Florida. In the absence of rain, irrigation was applied daily with microsprinklers at ≈120% to 175% of reference evapotranspiration as either single or split applications. Leachate was collected and its volume determined from each lysimeter at 6- to 10-day intervals throughout the study. Water use, expressed as L/plant, was calculated as the difference between the amount of irrigation/rain added to lysimeters and the amount of leachate collected from lysimeters during each measurement period. Average daily water use was calculated for monthly intervals beginning in Apr. 2010 and ending in Sept. 2012. Water use increased rapidly during spring through the final stages of fruit ripening and harvest (May) with peak water use occurring during mid to late summer (July, August, and September). Plants grown in pine bark beds used more water than plants in pine bark amended soil during Apr., May, and Dec. 2010, Feb. 2011, and Mar. 2012, but there were no differences during the periods of highest water use. No differences in water use were observed between single or split-application irrigation treatments. Monthly averages for daily water use during the 30-month period ranged from ≈1.75 L/plant in January to ≈8.0 L/plant in mid to late summer. Mean monthly crop coefficient values during the 30-month period ranged from 0.44 in February to 0.86 in September. Canopy volume, yield, and mean berry weight were unaffected by soil or irrigation treatments.

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