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Julián Miralles, Raquel Valdes, Juan J. Martínez-Sánchez and Sebastián Bañón

The appropriate management of crop conditions can reduce the salt damage suffered by ornamental species and produce high-quality plants even when saline irrigation water is used. The aim of this study was to determine whether the pot-in-pot (PIP) cultivation system can improve the saline irrigation tolerance of Euonymus japonicus compared with aboveground potting (AGP) in terms of growth and development, aesthetic quality, ion accumulation, and leaf potentials. A 5-month experiment started on 6 Mar., and the interaction between the cultivation system (PIP or AGP) and water quality (fresh water and saline water, with 1.76 and 9.04 dS·m−1, respectively) was assessed. The substrate used was a mixture of white peat, coconut fiber, and perlite (40/40/20, v/v/v). A soil moisture sensor-controlled system was used to irrigate all the treatments when the AGP treatment irrigated with fresh water reached a volume water content (θ) of 0.33–0.35 m3·m−3. An interaction effect reduced the salinity effects in PIP and saline irrigation (PIP-s) compared with AGP and saline irrigation (AGP-s) in terms of damaged leaf area, plant dry weight (DW), and the compactness index. The PIP-s plants showed a survival rate of 93% compared with 57% in AGP-s. The substrate temperatures were milder in PIP regardless of the irrigation water, and the pore water electrical conductivity (EC) was 36% lower in PIP-s than in AGP-s. PIP reduced the Cl accumulated in leaves but did not influence Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, or the K+/Na+ ratio. The lower amount of Cl accumulated increased leaf water potential (Ψo) in PIP. Saline irrigation produced a general accumulation of Cl and Na+ in leaves and decreased Ca2+, Mg2+, the K+/Na+ ratio, Ψo, the shoot to root ratio, and height. In general, PIP reduced the salinity damage to Euonymus japonicus, the main effect being the lower Cl ion uptake, which improved its aesthetic value (less damage and greater compactness and growth).

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Raquel Valdés, Julián Miralles, Jesús Ochoa, Sebastián Bañón and María Jesús Sánchez-Blanco

Potted gerberas were grown in a greenhouse with one, two, or four emitters (1.2 L·h−1) per pot and irrigated with water of two levels of salinity (1.5 dS·m−1 and 3 dS·m−1). All pots received the same volume of water. The aim was to determine whether the number of emitters per pot affects the distribution of roots and salts in the substrate (100% coconut fiber). We determined the electrical conductivity (EC) distribution at three different heights (upper, middle, and lower). We also studied the roots and EC horizontal distribution in four quadrants (southeast, southwest, northwest, and northeast). Shoot growth, leaf damage, plant water status, and photochemical capacity of photosystem II were also studied. Two or four emitters per pot reduced the leaching fraction compared with that observed with one emitter, improving both the amount and homogeneity of substrate moisture. In the two saline conditions used, the salt concentration in the substrate was irregular both vertically and horizontally, and the presence of roots in the horizontal quadrant sides was heterogeneous. Both of these behaviors decreased as the number of emitters per pot increased. Root growth was weakly related with the soluble salt content in the root zone. When saline water is used, two emitters per pot are to be recommended because the difference between using two and four emitters was very slight. The use of only one emitter reduced shoot and root growth and encouraged salt damage to leaves.