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- Author or Editor: C. D. Stanley x
The use of the recently developed fully-enclosed seepage subirrigation system for fresh market tomato production has demonstrated an improved ability to maintain a water table at a desired level (when compared to conventional ditch-conveyed seepage subirrigation) by means of more precisely controlled application and a greater uniformity throughout the field. This is achieved through use of microirrigation tubing rather than open ditches to convey water to raise the water table to desired levels. When manually controlled, the system has shown to save 30-40% in irrigation amounts primarily due to almost total elimination of surface runoff. An automated control system was designed and evaluated with respect to practicality, durability, and performance of various designs of level-sensing switches. The advantages and limitations of the designs in relation to water table control for tomato production will be presented.
Methodology was developed to estimate water requirements for production of 20 different potted ornamental plant species with practical application for water conservation in commercial operations. Water requirement prediction equations were generated using pan evaporation to estimate evaporative demand along with plant canopy height and width and flower height as input variables. Coefficients of determination (R2) for the prediction equations among plant species ranged from 0.51 to 0.91, with the lower values mostly associated with plant species with an open or less-uniform growth habit. Variation in water use among different cultivars of marigold also was associated with differences in cultivar growth habit. Estimation of the daily water requirements of potted Reiger begonia and Ficus benjamina using their developed prediction equations was compared to actual water use under common growing conditions to demonstrate the implementation of the method for plant species differing in growth habit.
The effect of water table level and fertilizer rates on bell pepper production grown with the fully enclosed subirrigation (FES) system was studied over three fall growing seasons (1992–94). The FES system uses buried microirrigation tubing in the field to convey water for maintaining a water table level and has shown to achieve application savings of 30% to 40% compared to the conventional subirrigation method that maintains a high water table using lateral field ditches. Controlled water table levels of 45, 60, and 75 cm below soil surface and fertilizer rates of 1194, 1716, and 2239 kg·ha–1 (18–0–21 expressed as N–P–K) were used as treatments replicated in time over 3 growing seasons. The 45-cm water table level and 2239 kg·ha–1 fertilizer rate are considered the conventional commercial practices. Results showed that comparable seasonal production levels were achieved among fertilizer rates and water table levels with no significant interactions between treatments. These data indicate that using a lower target water table level allows lower rates of fertilizer to be used because the susceptibility of the fertilizer to leaching caused by excessive rainfall is lessened due to increased soil water storage capacity.
Many factors contribute to final apple fruit size. Researchers have studied these factors and have developed models, some very complex. Results from many New Zealand regions over several years suggest that early season temperature along with crop load are the key factors driving final fruit size. Accumulated growing degree days from full bloom to 50 days after full bloom (DAFB), accounted for 90% of the variance in fruit weight of `Royal Gala' apples at 50 DAFB under nonlimiting low-crop-load conditions. In turn, fruit weight at 50 DAFB accounted for 90% of the variance in final fruit size at harvest under the low-crop-load conditions. We hypothesise that a potential maximum fruit size is set by 50 DAFB, determined by total fruit cell number, resulting from a temperature-responsive cell division phase. Under conditions of no limitations after the cell division phase, we suggest that all cells would expand to their optimum size to provide the maximum fruit size achievable for that cell number. Factors which affect growth partitioning among fruits, e.g., higher crop loads, would reduce final fruit size, for any given cell number, when grown in the same environment. In Oct. 1999, four different crop loads were established at full bloom on `Royal Gala' trees (M9 rootstock) in four climatically different regions. In Hawkes Bay, similar crop loads were established at 50 DAFB on additional trees. Hourly temperatures were recorded over the season. Fruit size was measured at 50 DAFB and fruit will be harvested in Feb. 2000. These data should provide fresh insight and discussion into the respective roles of temperature and competition during the cell division fruit growth phase on apple fruit size.
A study was conducted to determine the effect of water table depth on water use and tuber yields for subirrigated caladium (Caladium × hortulanum) production. A field-situated drainage lysimeter system was used to control water table depths at 30, 45 and 60 cm (11.8, 17.7, and 23.6 inches). Water use was estimated by accounting for water added or removed (after rain events) to maintain the desired water table depth treatments. In 1998, tuber weights, the number of Jumbo grade tubers, and the production index (tuber value index) of `White Christmas' were greater when plants were grown with the water table maintained at 30 or 45 cm compared to 60 cm. In 1999, tuber weights, the number of Mammoth grade tubers, and the production index, also were greater when plants were grown at water table depths of 30 or 45 cm compared to 60 cm. The average estimated daily water use was 6.6, 5.1, and 3.3 mm (0.26, 0.20, and 0.13 inch) for plants grown at water table depths of 30, 45, and 60 cm, respectively, indicating an inverse relationship with water table depth. While current water management practices in the caladium industry attempt to maintain a 60-cm water table, results from this study indicate that, for subirrigated caladium tuber production, the water table should be maintained in at 30 to 45 cm for maximum production on an organic soil.
An easy method to estimate water requirements for poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Kl.) production with practical applications to commercial operations was developed to promote water conservation. A water-requirement prediction equation (P ≥ 0.01, R 2 = 0.78) that used pan evaporation along with plant-canopy height and width as input variables was generated. Equation verification was carried out by comparing plant quality of crops irrigated according to the generated water-requirement prediction equation to crops irrigated “on-demand” or with capillary-mat irrigation. Plants irrigated with the prediction equation were smaller than plants grown with capillary mat, but plant quality ratings for ‘Annette Hegg Diva’ and ‘Dark Red Annette Hegg’ were not significantly different. ‘Gutbier V-10 Amy’ plants grown with irrigation on-demand were of higher quality than plants grown using either the capillary mat or the prediction equation. Applied water was significantly lower for plants irrigated with the prediction equation than would normally be applied in a commercial operation using a conservative fixed daily irrigation rate.
Daily water use for potted Chrysanthemum ×morifolium Ramat. ‘Spirit’ was estimated from pan evaporation and plant height data collected over 2 seasons using 3 different growing environments (glass greenhouse, saranhouse, and outside—no structure). Regression equations derived using pan evaporation and plant height were not significantly improved with the inclusion of plant width as an additional variable to estimate water use.
Glyphosate at rates found adequate (3.36 kg/ha) for orchard weed control is phytotoxic and possibly fatal to young apple trees if it is intercepted by the tree’s foliage in sufficient quantities. Its use appears safe, however, if precautions are used to avoid this contact. Following foliage absorption, the glyphosate is translocated to active growing points resulting in leaf attenuation and cupping and necrosis to leaves, terminals, and trunks.
Leaf water potential (LWP) data for cut-flower chrysanthemums (Crysanthemum morifolium Ramat.) collected from 5 different irrigation rate treatments throughout the growing season were compared to the final plant characteristics and yield in order to evaluate the usefulness of LWP for estimating water stress effects on ultimate yield. Significant treatment differences for LWP response measured during high evaporative demand periods were similar to treatment differences for yields and final plant characteristics. Treatment differences for LWP response measured during low evaporative demand periods were not significant and did not reflect the significant treatment differences for yields and final plant characteristics. Results indicate that LWP measurements vary with changes in atmospheric conditions, such as cloud cover, and are difficult to interpret relative to water stress effects on final plant characteristics. Plant growth parameters, such as height or growth rate, when monitored during the season, were found to be more adequate indicators of stress effects on final yield.