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Matthew W. Kent and David Wm. Reed

Greenhouse cultural methods must minimize runoff to keep pace with environmental regulation aimed at protecting water resources. Two experiments were designed to investigate the effect of N fertilization rate on New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens ×hawkeri) and peace lily (Spathiphyllum Schott) in an ebb-and-flow subirrigation system. Maximum growth response for impatiens was centered around 8 mm N levels as measured by root and shoot fresh and dry weight, height, leaf number, leaf area, and chlorophyll concentration. For peace lily, growth peaked at about 10 mm N. Growing medium was divided into three equal layers: top, middle, and bottom. Root distribution favored the middle and bottom layers, and the relative distribution of roots was consistent as N level increased. EC remained low in middle and bottom layers at N concentrations below 10 mm, but increased significantly for all layers at levels above 10 mm. The EC for the top layer was 2 to 5 times higher than in the middle or bottom layers at all N levels. Increased nitrate concentration paralleled increased EC, while pH decreased as N concentration increased for impatiens and peace lily.

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Trisha Blessington Haley and David Wm. Reed

Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of K fertilizer rates on growth of New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens Hawkeri Bull.), vinca (Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don) and petunia (Petunia ×hybrida Hort. Vilm.-Andr.) in a recirculating subirrigation system. Based on a variety of growth parameters, a broad range of K concentrations allowed maximum growth, notably 1 to 6 mM for New Guinea impatiens `Ovation Salmon Pink Swirl', 2 mm for New Guinea impatiens `Cameo' and `Illusion', 2 to 8 mm for vinca `Pacifica Apricot', and 2 to 16 mm for petunia `Trailing Wave Misty Lilac'. Thus, the lowest concentration that allowed maximum growth was 1 to 2 mm K. A third experiment compared the optimum K concentration and K balance of vinca grown with recirculating subirrigation versus top-watering. Based on a variety of growth parameters of vinca `Pacifica Red', the lowest concentration that allowed maximum growth was 2 mm K with recirculating subirrigation and 4 mm K with top-watering. The K balance demonstrated that subirrigated plants were twice as efficient in K use compared to the top-watered plants. Leachate loss was the major contributor to inefficiency in top-watered plants. Electrical conductivity (EC) of the growing medium remained below the recommended level of 1.2 dS·m-1 in both irrigation methods at K concentrations of 16 mm and below in the bottom layer and 8 mm and below in the middle layer. In the top layer of the growing medium, EC was above the recommended level at all K concentrations tested in subirrigation at all concentrations, and in top-watering at 16 mm and above.

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George C. Elliott

Water retention at effective water-holding capacity (EWHC) and container capacity (CCAP) were measured in four rockwool-peat potting media amended with a wetting agent and/or a hydrophilic gel in pots 12 cm tall containing 445 cm3 medium, and irrigated by capillary mat, flood-and-drain, trickle emitter, or overhead sprinkler. Water retention was measured by weighing. Irrigation was continued until EWHC (i.e., net water retention when no weight increase could be obtained by further irrigation) was reached. CCAP (i.e., net water retention following saturation and free drainage) was measured at the end of each experiment. Irrigation method and medium amendments significantly affected EWHC. Rank order of irrigation treatments was sprinkler ≥ trickle > flood and drain ≥ mat. Hydrophilic gel increased both EWHC and CCAP, while the wetting agent increased EWHC but decreased or had no effect on CCAP. Significant interactions of gel and wetting agent were observed in some media. EWHC was less than CCAP, and EWHC was better correlated with CCAP with trickle emitter and overhead sprinkler irrigation than with capillary mat and flood-and-drain irrigation.

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Deron Caplan, Mike Dixon, and Youbin Zheng

total irrigation volume increased the dry weight of cut flower shoots by ≈30% over a lower frequency irrigation ( Katsoulas et al., 2006 ). Similar effects have been reported in greenhouse-grown Codiaeum variegatum L.; using a flood and drain