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Stephanie E. Burnett and Marc W. van Iersel

or too large to install in the small containers typically used in greenhouse container crop production. However, new, small capacitance sensors (EC-5; ≅5 cm × 2 cm; Decagon Devices, Pullman, WA) accurately estimate substrate volumetric water content

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Yong Ha Rhie and Jongyun Kim

, and precise irrigation to maintain specific substrate moisture conditions are available in conjunction with a data logger and solenoid valves ( Kim et al., 2014 ). Currently, capacitance or frequency domain reflectometry sensors are regarded as the

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G. Psarras, I. Merwin, A. Lakso, and R. Zobel

We are evaluating techniques for measuring intact apple rootstock (Malus domestica cv. M.9 and MM.111) responses to low, medium, and high soil-water potential, and low, medium, and high concentrations of N, K, and Ca, in sterile sand culture. Root respiration and functional surface area were estimated with an IRGA chamber and electric capacitance meter, respectively. Root length and surface area were determined by digital image analysis of extracted root systems. Low N supply reduced root respiration, while low K levels increased respiration relative to well-nourished controls. Calcium effects were inconsistent among the rootstocks. Total root length and respiration rates of MM.111 were higher than M.9, but M.9 had higher root:shoot ratios. Root capacitance was correlated with total root length (P < 0.001); and M.9 root systems had greater capacitance than MM.111. In a related field experiment, root growth and respiration of 4-year-old `Mutsu' apple trees on M.9 rootstock were measured in soil under low and moderate drought stress established by rain exclusion shelters, using capacitance and IRGA meters, and a minirhizotron video camera inserted into Plexiglas tubes transecting the rhizosphere. Root growth rates peaked in July (coinciding with maximal shoot growth), then declined gradually during late summer; but variability among trees was greater than among water stress treatments. Root/soil respiration maxima of 4.5 μmol CO2/m2 per s occurred in mid June, late July (when new root counts peaked), and the end of August (when root turnover was maximal).

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R. Nuñez-Elisea, B. Schaffer, M. Zekri, S.K. O'Hair, and J.H. Crane

Tropical fruit trees in southern Florida are grown in porous, oolitic limestone soil that has very low organic matter content and water-holding capacity. Thus, trees require frequent irrigation during dry periods. In these soils, a quantitative basis for monitoring soil water content to determine when and how much to irrigate has been lacking. Multi-sensor capacitance probes (EnviroSCAN™, Sentek, Australia) were installed in commercial carambola, lime, and avocado orchards to continuously monitor changes in soil water content at depths of 10, 20, 30, and 50 cm. Eight probes were installed per orchard. Volumetric soil water content was recorded at 15-min intervals with a solar-powered datalogger. Results were downloaded to a laptop computer twice a week. Monitoring the rate of soil water depletion (evapotranspiration) allowed irrigation before the onset of water stress. The time at which soil reached field capacity could be determined after each irrigation (or rain) event. Soil water tension was recorded periodically using low-tension (0–40 cbars) tensiometers placed adjacent to selected capacitance probes at 10- and 30-cm depths. Soil water tension was better correlated with volumetric soil water content at a 10-cm depth than at 30-cm depth. Using multi-sensor capacitance probes is a highly accurate, although relatively expensive, method of monitoring soil water content for scheduling irrigation in tropical fruit orchards. Whereas tensiometers require periodic maintenance, the multi-sensor capacitance probe system has been virtually maintenance free. The correlation between soil water content and soil water tension obtained in situ indicates that tensiometers are a less precise, but considerably cheaper, alternative for scheduling irrigation in tropical fruit orchards in southern Florida.

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Susan L. Steinberg, Jayne M. Zajicek, and Marshall J. McFarland

Growth of potted hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.) was limited either by pruning or by a soil drench of `uniconazole at 3.0 mg a.i. per pot. Both treatments changed the water use of hibiscus. Five days after treatment with uniconazole, plants showed reduced water use, an effect that became more pronounced with time. Water use of pruned plants was reduced immediately after pruning, but soon returned to the level of the control due to the rapid regeneration of leaf area. Pruned or chemically treated plants used 6% and 33% less water, respectively, than the control. Chemically treated plants had a smaller leaf area, and individual leaves had lower stomatal density, conductance, and transpiration rate than control plants. Under well-watered conditions, the sap flow rate in the main trunk of control or pruned plants was 120 to 160 g·h-1·m-2, nearly three times higher than the 40 to 70 g·h-1·m-2 measured in chemically treated plants. Liquid flow conductance through the main trunk or stem was slightly higher in chemically treated plants due to higher values of leaf water potential for a given sap flow rate. The capacitance per unit volume of individual leaves appeared to be lower in chemically treated than in control plants. There was also a trend toward lower water-use efficiency in uniconazole-treated plants. Chemical name used: (E)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-l-yl)-1-penten-3-ol (uniconazole).

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Susan L. Steinberg, Jayne M. Zajicek, and Marshall J. McFarland

Growth of potted Ligustrum was controlled by uniconazole at 3.0 mg a.i./pot. Uniconazole inhibited growth by inducing shorter internodes with smaller diameter and by reducing secondary branching and new leaf production. As a result, the total leaf area of the treated plants was 6396 less than the control plants. The chlorophyll content of recently expanded leaves was 27% lower in treated than in control plants, even though there were no visual differences in leaf color. Leaves of treated plants also had a 28% higher stomatal density than the control. The liquid flow conductance of Ligustrum was 3.7 × 10-14 m·s-1·Pa-1 and was similar for plants in both treatments. Differences in daily water, use between the two treatments began to appear at the same time as differences in growth. Total water use of treated plants was 13% less than that of the control. When daily water use was normalized on a-leaf-area basis, water use between treatments was similar, suggesting that differences in total water use were primarily due to differences in leaf area. For plants in both treatments, peak sap flow rates in the main trunk ranged between 60 and 100 g·h-1·m-2. Leaf conductance, transpiration rates, and water potential were also similar for treated and control plants. Chemical name used: (E)-1-(4-chlorophenyll) -4,4, -dimethyl-2-(l,2,4-triazo1-l-y1)-l-penten-3-ol (uniconazole).

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Rhuanito Soranz Ferrarezi, Sue K. Dove, and Marc W. van Iersel

capacitance soil moisture sensors require less maintenance and provide data that are easier to interpret than tensiometers, VWC may be the most useful measurement for automating irrigation systems ( Nemali et al., 2007 ). Capacitance sensors allow for easy

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Rhuanito Soranz Ferrarezi, Marc W. van Iersel, and Roberto Testezlaf

high-quality plants, conserving both water and fertilizer. Capacitance substrate moisture sensors have been successfully used to monitor and control drip irrigation based on target θ thresholds for containerized plants grown in greenhouses ( Burnett and

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Kelly T. Morgan, Lincoln Zotarelli, and Michael D. Dukes

. Often a combination of both approaches is used. Several devices are available to determine in situ soil moisture status. Soil moisture measurement Electromagnetic techniques (resistive, capacitance, and time-domain reflectometry sensor) include methods

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Michael D. Dukes, Lincoln Zotarelli, and Kelly T. Morgan

bell pepper ( Zotarelli et al., 2008a , 2009 ), turfgrass, and landscapes ( Dukes et al., 2007b ) with capacitance-based soil moisture sensor irrigation controllers. As an irrigation scheduling method, sensors have been promoted for many years and have