The nursery/greenhouse industry is the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture. Consumer demand for excellent product quality requires luxury applications of water and agricultural chemicals. These cultural practices tend to yield significant volumes of runoff rich in nutrients and pesticides. A capture and recycle system at the Nursery/Floral Crops Research and Education Center at Texas A&M University was fitted with 12 subsurface flow (SSF) and 12 free-surface flow (FSF) wetland cells. Constructed wetland cells provided substantial reduction of runoff nutrient concentrations without increasing electrical conductivity, an indicator of salinity. Growth of Iris pseudacorus L. and Canna ×generalis L.H. Bailey during spring growth was greater in the FSF wetland cells, while that of Colocasia sp. Fabr. was greater in the SSF wetland cells. Equisetum hyemale L. grew equally well in both cell types. Direct reuse of nursery runoff reduced the number of Ilex vomitoria Ait. `Nana' reaching marketable size in 2.3-L containers. Interactions among irrigation water sources and container media types for growth indices occurred for Juniperus procumbens `Green Mound' and I. vomitoria `Nana', but not for Raphiolepis indica L. `Carmelita'.
Michael A. Arnold, Bruce Lesikar, Ann Kenimer, Don C. Wilkerson, and Mitchell W. Goyne
Garry V. McDonald, Michael A. Arnold, Bruce J. Lesikar, Larry W. Barnes, and Don C. Wilkerson
An experiment was initiated in June and Aug. 2004 to determine affects of ozonated fertilizer–injected water on plant growth of chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum× morifoliumT. de Romatuelle `Covington'). Aliquots (20 L) of reverse osmosis water were amended with 0, 50, and 300 mg·L-1 N (21N–3.1P–5.8K) water-soluble fertilizer and exposed to ozone (O3) gas for 0, 30, 60, or 120 s at a flow rate of 300 mL/min. Containers were sealed and allowed to set for 15 min for O3 diffusion. Treated water was used to irrigate plants. Plants were in 10.2-cm pots and grown until floral initiation. Plants were harvested on 12 Aug. 2004 or 24 Nov. 2004. Growth index (height x canopy width × canopy width in a perpendicular direction/3), and shoot and root dry masses were determined. Interactions between fertility concentration and ozone exposure rates were nonsignificant (P≤ 0.05). Significant main effect differences occurred in growth index and shoot/root dry masses in response to fertilizer concentrations, but growth measures were not affected by ozone exposure. Peak ozone concentrations in fertilizer-injected irrigation water averaged 0.21 mg·L-1 O3 (120 s exposure at 300 mL·L-1) after 15 min diffusion time. At 20 min diffusion times, ozone levels dropped to 0 mg·L-1. No gross morphological differences or obvious necrosis typical of ozone damage on chrysanthemum occurred at any O3 exposure level. No observable nutritional deficiencies were noted. Vegetative growth of chrysanthemum was not directly injured by irrigation water that was exposed to ozone gas for 0 to 120 s at a 300 mL/min flow rate.
Michael A. Arnold, Don C. Wilkerson, Bruce J. Lesikar, and Douglas F. Welsh
Studies were conducted using Zea mays L. and Taxodium distichum L. seedlings as model systems to study Cu leaching from Cu(OH)2-treated containers. Initial experiments developed Cu toxicity curves (as CuSO4) in an inorganic (sand) or organic (bark-sand) medium with single (acute) or multiple (chronic) applications. A second pair of experiments investigated short-term (35 days) Cu accumulation and plant responses to irrigation with water (125 mL/plant per day) recycled through a fixed reservoir volume (9.5 L) from 0.7-L Cu(OH)2-treated containers filled with an inorganic or organic medium. Finally, plant responses and Cu leaching were monitored during growth in 2.3-L Cu(OH)2-treated containers filled with two organic media fertigated with high (8.0) or low (6.5) pH solutions. Different Cu(OH)2 concentrations and application methods were tested. Leachate data from the latter studies were used to calculate potential Cu concentrations in nursery runoff using various water application methods and pot spacings. Expression of Cu toxicity symptoms depended on exposure, concentration, and medium for each species. Plants subjected to chronic exposure and grown in an inorganic medium developed toxicity symptoms at lower doses than plants subjected to acute exposure and grown in an organic medium. Several measures of plant growth were greater for both species when grown in 0.7-L Cu(OH)2-treated containers, but not in 2.3-L containers. Plants in Cu(OH)2-treated containers seldom exhibited Cu toxicity symptoms in shoot tissues, even with an inorganic medium. Soluble Cu content of the recycled solution from Spin Out-treated containers increased slightly (<1.2 mg·L-1) during the 35-day experiment. Longer-term studies with nonrecycled leachate from 2.3-L containers indicated that Cu leaching increased after 60 to 90 days. Copper leaching was greater with the combination of applied solution of pH 6.5 and bark-sand-peat medium than with the combination of applied solution of pH 8.0 and bark-sand medium, and increased with greater concentrations of Cu(OH)2 in container wall treatments or when containers were filled before latex carrier was dried. Calculations of potential nursery runoff indicated that the levels of soluble Cu in effluent for most concentrations and spacings projected were below EPA action levels for potable water (1.3 mg·L-1) when overhead irrigation was used.
Rolston St. Hilaire, Michael A. Arnold, Don C. Wilkerson, Dale A. Devitt, Brian H. Hurd, Bruce J. Lesikar, Virginia I. Lohr, Chris A. Martin, Garry V. McDonald, Robert L. Morris, Dennis R. Pittenger, David A. Shaw, and David F. Zoldoske
In the United States, urban population growth, improved living standards, limited development of new water supplies, and dwindling current water supplies are causing the demand for treated municipal water to exceed the supply. Although water used to irrigate the residential urban landscape will vary according to factors such as landscape type, management practices, and region, landscape irrigation can vary from 40% to 70% of household use of water. So, the efficient use of irrigation water in urban landscapes must be the primary focus of water conservation. In addition, plants in a typical residential landscape often are given more water than is required to maintain ecosystem services such as carbon regulation, climate control, and preservation of aesthetic appearance. This implies that improvements in the efficiency of landscape irrigation will yield significant water savings. Urban areas across the United States face different water supply and demand issues and a range of factors will affect how water is used in the urban landscape. The purpose of this review is to summarize how irrigation and water application technologies; landscape design and management strategies; the relationship among people, plants, and the urban landscape; the reuse of water resources; economic and noneconomic incentives; and policy and ordinances impact the efficient use of water in the urban landscape.