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Native plants are often promoted as an approach for water conservation in urban landscapes. However, information regarding plant water needs is based primarily upon anecdotal observations of plant performance. Direct comparisons between native and introduced species using physiological measures of plant water stress are unavailable to support or refute such recommendations. Ligustrum japonicum and Myrica cerifera, representing an introduced and native species, respectively, were transplanted into a fine sand soil to evaluate establishment rates and growth characteristics under two irrigation regimes. Each species was irrigated either daily or every 3 days and received 1.3 cm of irrigation per event for 8 months after transplant. Predawn, midday, and dusk water potentials were recorded on three consecutive days monthly, with cumulative stress intervals calculated. Height, growth indices, shoot dry mass, root dry mass and leaf area were also recorded. Water potential was significantly influenced by day of water stress level. On days without irrigation, water stress was generally greater and affected growth. Myrica irrigated daily had the greatest growth, yet plants receiving irrigation every 3 days had the least growth and greater leaf drop. In contrast, for Ligustrum there were no differences between irrigation regimes in growth responses except for growth index.

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Water is quickly becoming one of the world's most precious resources. Micro- and cyclical irrigation are two effective ways that reduce irrigation volume without reducing plant quality. Development of a control mechanism to deliver timely and appropriate irrigation volumes combined with the advantages of micro- and cyclical irrigation will allow maximum water conservation and plant quality. For container-grown nursery plants, the interaction of container geometry and media physical properties dictate the volume of water available for plant uptake. The maximum amount of water a container substrate can hold under gravity is container capacity (CC). We managed season-long irrigation volumes by maintaining CC at three levels; 100% CC; 80% CC; and 60% CC, and used a set irrigation as a commercial control. The results showed similar plant growth for the 100% and set irrigation control groups through the growing season. However, the scheduled regime applied 50% more water than the group maintained at 100% CC. Our system increased water use efficiency without decreasing plant quality.

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Large volumes of compost produced from waste materials like yard trimmings, household trash (municipal solid waste), or biosolids (wastewater sludge) will likely become available for use by the Florida vegetable industry in the future. Using compost to produce vegetables has the potential to increase water and fertilizer conservation and reduce leaching from inorganic fertilizers in Florida's sandy soils. Compost quality for vegetable production systems should be based on soluble salts, phytotoxic compounds, C:N ratio, plant nutrients, trace metals, weed seeds, odor, moisture, pH, water-holding capacity, bulk density, cation exchange capacity, and particle size. In Florida, immature compost contained phytotoxic compounds that were harmful to crop germination and growth. Amending soil with mature composted waste materials has been reported to increase the growth and yields of vegetable crops grown in Florida. However, a beneficial response does not always occur, and the magnitude of the response is often not predictable.

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containers. Container production is resource intensive (hand labor, fertilizer, herbicide, etc.) and commonly occurs with overhead irrigation that inefficiently applies large volumes of water ( Yeager et al., 2010 ). Although inefficient with regard to plant

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Abstract

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.

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The design of a type of drainage lysimeter, as tested with trees of Pyrus serotina Rehder var. culta Rehder `Hosui' is described. All lysimeter operations and monitoring of irrigation and drainage volumes were managed by a “multi-tasking” controller/datalogger. It was possible to apply different irrigation levels to each of three sets of four random lysimeters. Evapotranspiration (ET) was calculated using a conservation of water equation, with differences between irrigation inputs and drainage outputs corrected for changes in soil-water content. ET ranged between 3.3 and 10.7 liters/tree per day in well-watered, noncropped trees in late Summer and Fall 1990. These rates correspond to ET of 0.13 to 0.43 liter·cm-2·day-1 and 0.96 to 3.10 liters·m-2·day-1 on trunk cross-sectional area and canopy area bases, respectively. The correlation coefficient between ET and Class A pan evaporation was >0.9 during this period. Weekly crop coefficients for the well-watered trees averaged 0.52 when calculated on a canopy-area basis. When irrigation was withheld for 18 days, the crop coefficient declined to 0.38. There were no differences in ET between trees growing in the two soil profiles, despite significant differences in soil water distribution.

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The delta of the Colorado River in Mexico historically contained 780,000 ha of riparian, marsh, and gallery forest habitat. Similar to other desert river deltas, such as the Nile and Indus, the lower delta of the Colorado River has been severely affected by the upstream diversion of water for human use. However, several large marsh areas of conservation interest still occur below the agricultural fields in Mexico. They are supported by flood water, agricultural drainage water, and municipal sewage effluent, as well as by seawater in the intertidal zone. The main anthropogenic marshes are the Rio Hardy wetland, maintained by geothermal discharge and Mexicali irrigation return flows in the western delta, and Cienega de Santa Clara, maintained by local irrigation return flows and by discharge of Wellton-Mohowk Valley drainage from the United States, imported via a 80-km canal to Mexico. These wetlands provide valuable habitat to resident and migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, mammals, and endangered species, including the Yuma Clapper Rail and the Desert Pupfish. Both wetlands are currently threatened by water management actions that do not take the wetland value of agricultural drainage into consideration. If agricultural drainage water and other available waste streams were explicitly managed to support wetlands, the Colorado River detla could potentially contain 50,000 ha or more of permanent, high-quality brackish wetlands below the agricultural fields.

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We conducted an evaluation of three commercial weather-sensing irrigation controllers to determine the climatic data they use, how easy they are to set up and operate, and how closely their irrigation regimes match landscape irrigation needs established by previous field research. The devices virtually controlled an existing reference irrigation system and used its system performance data as required in their initial setup. Reference standard treatments for cool-season turfgrass, trees/shrubs and annual flowers were calculated using onsite, real-time reference evapotranspiration (ETo) data and plant factors developed primarily from previous research. The reference irrigation system applied the correct amount of water to an actual tall fescue turfgrass planting whose water needs served as the reference standard treatment comparison for the cool-season turfgrass treatment. Virtual applied water was recorded for other plant materials and it was compared to the corresponding calculated reference standard amount. Results show each controller adjusted its irrigation schedules through the year roughly in concert with weather and ETo changes, but the magnitudes of adjustments were not consistently in proportion to changes in ETo. No product produced highly accurate irrigation schedules consistently for every landscape setting when compared to research-based reference comparison treatments. Greater complexity and technicality of required setup information did not always result in more accurate, water-conserving irrigation schedules. Use of a weather-sensing controller does not assure landscape water conservation or acceptable landscape plant performance, and it does not eliminate human interaction in landscape irrigation management.

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In the past decade, there has been a growing trend toward conservation and management of wildlife and the environment. Growing suburban development has increased displacement of native animals from their natural habitats; thus, there is an ever-increasing need to manage not only existing forests and large land holdings for wildlife but also developed land areas. The idea of “backyard habitat” gardening and the “green movement” in golf course design address these issues of wildlife habitat and provide design solutions that hail the growing need for natural habitats. The same principles also can be used in commercial landscape design and ultimately in reclaiming grazing pasture land for dual habitat by farm animals and native wildlife. Just as the “American Lawn” provides minimal support for wildlife due to its lack of diversity, the manicured pasture of the American farm can also be limiting for wildlife. Providing areas of cover for nesting and protection can benefit the “kept” and “unkept” animals inhabiting the area. Furthermore, the biophilic landscape provides a psychologically healthy biosphere for the personnel working on the farm. In designing landscape plans with the primary goal of aesthetic enhancement of university experimental research farms, the principals of water conservation, integrated pest management, and providing wildlife cover and food are applied to develop an aesthetically pleasing design that also provides habitat for displaced wildlife. The intent of the project is to explore the possibilities in designing successful habitats for wildlife while preserving the ultimate goal of livestock production. Implementing successful ecologically sound landscapes enable the land-grant university to teach the public the benefits of wildlife conservation and the importance of its incorporation to all aspects of land use.

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Mild temperatures during late winter have caused early budbreak in grapes which resulted in freeze injury and significant crop losses in 1980 and 1988. Evaporative cooling of grapevines with microsprinklers when the air temperature exceeded 10 °C (50 °F) used 100 liters/min/hectare of treated grapes (11 gallons/min/acre) and delayed budbreak for a period of 7 to 10 days. Methods of reducing the amount of water used while not reducing the cooling were evaluated. The average hourly difference between wet and dry bud temperatures, measured with thermocouples, were summed during the system operation time and compared as a function of air temperature, wind speed, global radiation, and relative humidity limits. Limiting the cooling system operation time as a function of air temperature, wind speed, or global radiation reduced cooling efficiency by approximately a one to one ratio. Limiting system operation to humidities less than 60% reduced the amount of water used by 33%, with only a 9% reduction in cooling efficiency. By changing the wetting interval employed in this research from 25 seconds every three minutes to 25 seconds every four minutes, total water conservation would increase to 50% with insignificant changes in cooling efficiencies. These system modifications would reduce water application requirements to 50 liters/min/hectare of grapes (5.5 gallons/minute/acre).

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