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Craig A. Storlie and Paul Eck

Inexpensive weighing lysimeters ($1475/unit) were constructed for measuring evapotranspiration of young highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.). The use of a single load cell and other design characteristics decreased lysimeter measurement accuracy but minimized lysimeter construction costs. Measurement error was within ±3%. Crop coefficient (CC) curves for 5- and 6-year-old `Bluecrop' highbush blueberry plants in their third and fourth year of production were generated using reference evapotranspiration and crop water use data from the 1991 and 1992 growing seasons. The CC increased during leaf expansion and flowering in the spring to its maximum value of about 0.19 in 1991 and 0.27 in 1992 and remained near these values until leaves began senescing in the fall. Water use on sunny days during June, July, and August ranged from (liters/bush each day) 3.5 to 4.0 in 1991 and 4.0 to 4.5 in 1992. During the second year of the study, plants had an average height of 0.9 m, an average diameter of 0.9 m, and covered 18% of the total cultivated area. The maximum calculated CC was equal to 1.5 times the measured canopy cover percentage.

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Craig A. Storlie and Joseph R. Heckman

Scientists have sought to stimulate plant growth using carbonated irrigation water for more than 100 years. The mechanisms by which carbonated water may increase plant productivity and the influence of environmental and cultural growing conditions on those mechanisms are not completely understood. Several greenhouse and field studies have demonstrated that carbonated irrigation water can increase crop yield significantly while others have shown that carbonated irrigation water does not influence plant productivity. It is unlikely that carbonated irrigation water will be recommended commercially until the conditions are delineated under which a positive and economically advantageous growth response is ensured.

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Craig A. Storlie, Philip E. Neary, and James W. Paterson

The effects of fertilizer rates and application frequency on drip-irrigated bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) were evaluated at two sites in 1992 and one site in 1993 in southern New Jersey. Yield and fruit quality were greatest with 158N-69P-131K lb/acre at the site with a sandy loam soil. Yield and fruit quality responded to additional fertilizer at sites with loamy sand soils. Average marketable fruit weight increased with increasing fertilization rate at one of the two loamy sand sites. The incidence of sun scald decreased with increasing fertilization rate. Increasing the frequency of drip-applied fertilizer from 11 to 22 days did not affect yield or fruit quality in either year when the same amount of fertilizer was applied. These results show that maximizing the yield of bell peppers grown on loamy sand soils in New Jersey may require higher fertilization rates than previously recommended.