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Richard C. Funt, Mark C. Schmittgen, and Glen O. Schwab

The performance of peach trees [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch cv. Redhaven/Siberian C.] on raised beds as compared to the conventional flat (unraised) orchard floor surface was evaluated from 1982 to 1991. The raised bed was similar to the flat bed in cation exchange capacity (CEC), Ca, P, K, Mg, B, and Zn soil levels in the 0-15 cm depth. Microirrigation, using two 3.7 L.h-1 emitters per tree vs. no irrigation, was applied to trees planted in a north-south orientation on a silt loam, noncalcareous soil. Raised beds increased trunk cross-sectional area (TCA) and yield-efficiency over 5 years. Irrigation increased fruit mass mostly in years of highest evaporation. Significant year to year variations occurred in yield, fruit mass, TCA and yield efficiency. There were significant bed × year interactions for yield and TCA. Irrigation increased leaf boron content regardless of bed type. Leaf potassium was higher in flat beds. Nonirrigated trees had the lowest tree survival on the flat bed, but the opposite was true on the raised bed.

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G. J. Hochmuth, S. J. Locascio, T.E. Crocker, C.D. Stanley, G.A. Clark, and L.R Parsons

The Florida horticulture industry (vegetables, ornamentals, citrus, and deciduous fruit), valued at $4.5 billion, has widely adopted microirrigation techniques to use water and fertilizer more efficiently. A broad array of microirrigation systems is available, and benefits of microirrigation go beyond water conservation. The potential for more-efficient agricultural chemical (pesticides and fertilizer) application is especially important in today's environmentally conscious society. Microirrigation is a tool providing growers with the power to better manage costly inputs, minimize environmental impact, and still produce high-quality products at a profit.

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Jeff B. Million and Thomas H. Yeager

experimental site covered a 9.1- × 15.2-m area underlain with sandy fill and covered with black, industry-standard polypropylene ground cloth. A microirrigation system was installed that included a 4.8-cm-diameter header pipe that supplied municipal well water

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Steve Kovach, Larry Curtis, and Jim Allen

Irrigating with a micro-irrigation (drip) system offers improved crop quality and yield with significant savings of energy and water. To deliver these benefits reliably, a grower's system must include chlorinations or some other effective water treatment program to prevent clogging, the most common problem of micro-irrigation. Step-by-step procedures of chlorination of micro-irrigation systems are discussed. Injected into micro-irrigation systems, chlorine kills the micro-organisms—bacteria, fungi and algae—that may be in a water source and are the most common system cloggers.

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ALLEN G. SMAJSTRLA

The use of microirrigation in Florida citrus production has increased rapidly in recent years. Most new groves are now being developed with microspray or drip irrigation. Many existing sprinkler and seepage (subirrigation) systems have also been converted to micro irrigation. Although water management districts have encouraged the use of micro irrigation for water conservation, research results which solved problems with the practical implementation of this technology and which demonstrated economic incentives are primarily responsible for its popularity in Florida citrus production. Research programs have (1) developed management techniques to eliminate emitter clogging, (2) demonstrated the effective use of microspray systems for freeze protection, (3) increased young tree growth with respect to conventional irrigation methods, (4) demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of microirrigation, and (5) developed management techniques for efficient use of water and nutrients in fruit production.

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ALLEN G. SMAJSTRLA

The use of microirrigation in Florida citrus production has increased rapidly in recent years. Most new groves are now being developed with microspray or drip irrigation. Many existing sprinkler and seepage (subirrigation) systems have also been converted to micro irrigation. Although water management districts have encouraged the use of micro irrigation for water conservation, research results which solved problems with the practical implementation of this technology and which demonstrated economic incentives are primarily responsible for its popularity in Florida citrus production. Research programs have (1) developed management techniques to eliminate emitter clogging, (2) demonstrated the effective use of microspray systems for freeze protection, (3) increased young tree growth with respect to conventional irrigation methods, (4) demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of microirrigation, and (5) developed management techniques for efficient use of water and nutrients in fruit production.

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Richard C. Beeson Jr.

Pulsing consists of applying subvolumes of a normal daily irrigation volume several times per day. Previous studies have shown splitting overhead irrigation into two subapplications increased growth of container-grown landscape ornamentals in the southeastern U.S. In Florida, water restrictions prohibit overhead irrigation during the critical mid-afternoon when irrigation is most beneficial. Using individual microirrigation spray stakes, only 25% of the water required for overhead irrigation per bed area was necessary to produce similar plants if irrigated once per day. When the same daily volume was pulsed as 2 or 3 subvolumes, tree growth was significantly increased. Data suggest 2 pulses are sufficient for trees with a xeric nature while mesic trees prefer 3 pulses per day. Root:shoot ratios were unchanged by pulsing. Lower cumulative diurnal water stress was measured on pulsed trees.

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Blaine R. Hanson, Jan Hopmans, and Jirka Simunek

Injection during the middle one-third or the middle one-half of the irrigation is recommended for fertigation using microirrigation. However, short fertigation events are commonly used by growers. This project investigated the effect of fertigation practices on nitrate availability and leaching. The first phase of the project (completed) determined nitrate distributions in the root zone for four microirrigation systems, three soil types, and five fertigation strategies using the HYDRUS-2D computer simulation model. Fertigation strategies included injecting for short time periods at the beginning, middle, and end of the irrigation cycle, respectively; injecting during the middle 50% of the irrigation cycle, and continuous injection. The second phase (ongoing) is investigating the distribution of nitrate, ammonium, urea, phosphate, and potassium around the drip line for selected Phase 1 scenarios. Phase 1 results showed less nitrate leached from the root zone for a 2-h injection time at the end of a long irrigation event compared to injection at the beginning and middle of a long irrigation event for surface drip irrigation. A more continuous fertigation resulted in a more uniform distribution of nitrate in the soil. The results were less conclusive for subsurface drip lines, due to upward movement of nitrate above the drip line. Little difference in nitrate leaching occurred for short irrigation events, regardless of fertigation strategy. Data analysis of the Phase 2 modeling is under way. The HYDRUS-2D model included partition coefficients for ammonium, phosphate, and potassium, and parameters for hydrolysis (conversion of urea to ammonium), nitrification, and denitrification.

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A. A. Csizinszky

Two tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) cvs. Agriset 761 and Equinox, were grown in spring and fall 1996 with two microirrigation rates 1x (HI) and 0.75x (LO) of the open pan evaporation and sprayed either weekly or biweekly with Anti-Stress 2000 (acrylic polymer) at 2.33 L·ha–1 in 280 to 561 L·ha–1 H2O during the first 10 weeks of the season. Tomato yields were similar with HI or LO irrigation rate and with antitranspirant sprays or water control. In both seasons, `Equinox' had a higher early but lower seasonal total marketable yield than `Agriset 761' (P ≤ 0.05). Residual soil concentrations of NO3-N and K were higher (P ≤ 0.05) with the LO, than with HI irrigation rate.

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C.D. Stanley, A.A. Csizinszky, G.A. Clark, and J.W. Prevatt

Combinations ofvarious vegetable crop species grown in multiple-cropping sequences using microirrigation on a sandy soil were evaluated for production potential and changes in normal cultural management An initial fall-season fresh-market tomato crop was followed immediately by a winter-season crucifer crop (cauliflower, broccoli, or cabbage), which was followed by a spring-season cucurbit crop (cucumber, zucchini squash, or muskmelon). Studies were conducted over a 3-year period in southwestem Florida. Results showed that when cropping sequences were compared on a basis of a derived relative value index (RVI), the sequence of tomato-cauliflower-zucchini squash significantly outperformed other sequences. Several management concerns particular to the production system (crop residue removal and interference, plastic mulch deterioration and damage, and weed control) were identified and discussed. The potential savings when cropping sequences are compared to individual crop production resulted in net savings (dollar savings less additional production costs) that ranged from $565 to $1212/acre ($1396 to $2993/ha) and $614 to $1316/acre ($1516 to $3251/ha) for the 1986-87 and 1988-89 seasons, respectively.