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  • Author or Editor: John H. Draper x
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To explore the possibility that saline wastewaters may be used to grow high value floriculture crops, the effects of salinity were tested on Helianthus annuus (L.). Sunflower cultivars Sunbeam and Moonbright were grown in 30 greenhouse sand tanks and irrigated initially with nutrient solution. One week after planting, saline treatments were imposed with solutions differing in ion composition. Fifteen tanks were irrigated with waters typical of agricultural wastewaters present in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and 15 tanks were irrigated with water compositions similar to saline tailwaters found in the Imperial and Coachella valleys (ICV). Five treatments of each salinity type were used with electrical conductivities (EC) of 2.5, 5, 10, 15, and 20 dS·m–1. Length of the flowering stems was significantly reduced as salinity rose to 20 dS·m–1. Reduction was more pronounced when the plants were irrigated with the sodium-sulfate dominated waters of SJV composition. Flower diameter was reduced when the EC of SJV waters exceeded 15 dS·m–1, but was not affected by any treatment when ICV waters were used. Salt tolerance in sunflower appears to be associated with mechanism(s) that regulate transport of potentially injurious ions. Both Na+and Cl- were partitioned to the lowest portion of the stem, and effectively excluded from the remainder of the shoot. This study illustrates that saline waters with EC = 15 or 20 dS·m–1 may be used to produce ornamental sunflowers without significant loss of quality. Salt stress also provides an environmentally friendly alternative to the use of growth regulators for the control of plant height.

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Saline agricultural drainage water may be used as a resource to grow high value horticultural crops and reduce the volume of drainage for eventual disposal. To explore reuse options the effects of salinity and timing of application were tested on selected leafy vegetables grown in 24 sand culture plots in Riverside, Calif. The leafy winter vegetables included `Ruby Red Chard' Swiss chard [Beta vulgaris L. var. flavescens (Lam.) Lam.], `Space' spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.), `Vitamin Green' salad greens [Brassica rapa L. (Narinosa Group)], `Red Giant' mustard greens [Brassica juncea L. (Czerniak)], pac choi [Brassica rapa L. (Chinensis Group)], `Winterbor' kale [Brassica oleracea L. (Acephala Group)], tatsoi [Brassica rapa L. (Narinosa Group)], `Salad King' curly endive (Cichorium endivia L.), and `Red Preco No. 1' radicchio (Cichorium intybus L.). All vegetables were planted at the same time and irrigated initially with tap water and nutrients. At 3 and 7 weeks after seeding (application times), six salinity treatments were initiated by adding salts to the irrigation water to represent the chemical compositions of drainage waters found typically in the San Joaquin Valley, Calif. The six salinity treatments had electrical conductivities of 3 (control), 7, 11, 15, 19, or 23 dS·m-1. A randomized complete block design was used with (6 salinities × 2 application times × 2 replications). Within each plot a 1.5-m row of each of the nine vegetables was grown as split plots. Salinity reduced fresh weight (FW) yields of all species. Salt stress applied at 3 weeks after seeding reduced FWs for seven of the nine vegetables compared to salination at 7 weeks. Analyses of salt tolerance curves, maximum yields, and the point of 50% yield reduction (C50) were conducted. Greens produced the highest biomass at 874 g/plant, but was the most affected by application time. Swiss chard and radicchio were not significantly affected by timing of salinity application, and Swiss chard was the most salt tolerant overall. Greens, kale, pac choi, and to a lesser extent, tatsoi, have potential as winter-grown, leafy vegetables in drainage water reuse systems.

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