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Allyson M. Blodgett, David J. Beattie and John W. White

Impatiens wallerana `Accent Red' were grown in a peat : perlite : vermiculite (PPV) or bark : peat : perlite (BPP) medium amended with SuperSorb-C (SS) or Soil Moist (SM) hydrophilic polymer and/or AquaGro-G (AG) wetting agent. In PPV or BPP, neither SS nor SM significantly increased shoot dry weight. In PPV, quality ratings were higher for plants grown in nonamended or SS- or SM- amended medium than for plants in AG-amended medium. In BPP, quality ratings were highest for plants grown in nonamended, AG-, or SM + AG-treated medium. Number of days from final irrigation to permanent wilting point (PWP) was greater in AG, SS + AG, or SM + AG treatments in PPV than in control, SS, or SM treatments, due to smaller plants in AG-amended media. In both media, root dry weight was not significantly greater with the use of either hydrophilic polymer or wetting agent. However, in PPV, AG suppressed root growth compared to the control.

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Stephanie Burnett and Donglin Zhang

In the past, horticulture students at the University of Maine have been taught to irrigate plants using only hand irrigation. It is becoming increasingly important to irrigate and fertilize efficiently in commercial greenhouses in order to reduce water waste and nutrient leaching. In 2004 and 2006, greenhouse management or plant production students were exposed to alternate methods of irrigating Dendranthema ×morifolium (chrysanthemum) in greenhouses to train students more effectively in irrigation techniques. In 2004, students measured the quantity of water applied to chrysanthemums once they reached the permanent wilting point from 26 Sept. until 30 Oct. The irrigation frequency generally increased as crops grew, but, the quantity of water applied upon irrigation was not significantly different. This experience provided students with a tangible idea of how irrigation frequency and timing change as crops grow, which could be applied to irrigation timing decisions in the future. In 2006, students grew a crop of chrysanthemums using alternate methods of irrigation (hand watering vs. drip irrigation) and fertilization. Student surveys in 2006 indicated that only 25% of students with previous experience working in a greenhouse or nursery had grown crops using drip irrigation, but all students with prior experience had irrigated by hand. Expanding student experiences with irrigation in the greenhouse uses active learning to instill students with more knowledge of irrigation and provide them with practical skills for irrigating efficiently and conservatively in the future.

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Dan Drost

In 1992, a long term study was initiated to determine water use of asparagus and to assess water stress effects on asparagus growth. Asparagus (Syn 4-56) crowns were planted and maintained at soil moisture levels near field capacity during the first year. In 1993, irrigation treatments based on 60, 40, and 0 percent of evapotranspiration (ET) were applied to asparagus during the fern growing period (mid-June to October). Soil moisture, shoot and root growth, and fern water potentials were measured throughout the year. Prior to the irrigation treatments, asparagus had 39 buds per plant with a shoot and root fresh weight of 573 and 270 grams, respectively. Soil moisture in the root zone (0 to 60 cm) approached the permanent wilting point in the 40%. and 0% of ET treatments by mid-August. A decrease in irrigation rate from 80 to 0% of ET had no effect on fern fresh weight at the end of the growing season. However, as irrigation rate decreased from 80 to 0% of ET, root fresh weight (586, 533, 415 grams) and bud number (78, 59, 53) decreased linearly. These results suggest yield and growth may be reduced in 1994.

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Alan W. Meerow and Timothy K. Broschat

Growth of Hibiscus rosasinensis L. `President' under daily irrigation and decreasing irrigation frequency was compared in a 5 pine bark : 4 sedge peat : 1 sand (by volume) medium amended further with 0%, 10%, 20%, or 30% (by volume) Axis, a kiln-fired diatomaceous earth granule. Half of each substrate treatment also was drenched three times with Agroroots, a kelp extract. Shoot and root dry weights were compared after 4.5 months of growth. Container media amended with Axis at 10% volume yielded hibiscus plants with higher shoot dry weights than nonamended media. Root-zone drenches with Agroroots increased shoot dry weights of plants subjected to decreasing irrigation frequency and grown without Axis, but did not significantly affect plants receiving daily irrigation. Shelf-life effects of Axis treatment revealed that all plants reached the permanent wilting point 5 days after cessation of daily irrigation. Both products may allow container plant production with less irrigation. Further tests should be conducted with a broader range of species.

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Richard E.C. Layne, Chin S. Tan, David M. Hunter and Robert A. Cline

Seven treatment combinations of irrigation and fertilizer were compared in a high-density (606 trees/ha) management system for peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch cv. Harrow Beauty/Bailey] on Fox sand in southwestern Ontario. Each treatment combination had an irrigation component (N = nonirrigated, D = drip irrigated, or M = microsprinkler irrigated) and a fertilizer placement component (B = banded fertilizer, L = low fertigation, or H = high fertigation). NB and DB are commonly used systems in Ontario, while the other five treatment combinations were experimental. Total soil water in the top 110 cm of soil was lowest under NB but was never at the permanent wilting point. Trunk cross-sectional area was largest under DH and DB, smallest under ML and NB, and intermediate for the other three treatment combinations. No symptoms of N or K deficiency or toxicity were noted for any of the fertilizer treatments. Leaf analyses in July and September indicated that most major and minor elements were in the adequate to slightly excess range. However, there were no significant treatment effects on leaf nutrient concentrations in July or September when averaged over the five years, except for Mg in July. There were large and significant year effects on leaf nutrient concentrations but no significant treatment × year interactions. During the first four cropping years, there were no significant treatment effects, averaged over years, for total yield, marketable yield, or cumulative yield efficiency; however, there were large year effects but no treatment × year interactions for these factors. There was no detectable yield advantage for D vs. M irrigation. B application of N and K promoted no higher yields than fertigation equivalent to the B rate or 50% of this rate. Fertigation of N and K during the first 4 years of this experiment did not provide a detectable yield advantage to warrant the added cost and labor associated with this system compared with the B applications of N and K.

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Richard E.C. Layne, Chin S. Tan and David M. Hunter

Three cultivars (`Garnet Beauty', `Harbrite', `Canadian Harmony'), two ground covers (temporary cover vs. permanent sod), and no irrigation vs. season-long trickle irrigation were studied in a high-density (633 trees/ha) peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] orchard established on Fox sand in 1980. From 1985 to 1989, soil water content in the top 130 cm was similar in nonirrigated and trickle-irrigated plots except during the growing season (May to September). Total soil water was lowest in nonirrigated plots that had permanent sod strips in the row middles and fell below the-permanent wilting point for ≥11 months in summer but not at depths below 130 cm. Trunk cross-sectional area (TCA) was greater for `Canadian Harmony' and `Harbrite' than `Garnet Beauty', ground-cover treatments had no effect, and irrigated trees were generally larger than those not irrigated. Photosynthetic rate and stomatal conductance differed by cultivar, were unaffected by ground cover, and were enhanced by irrigation. Defoliation differed by cultivar, ground cover had little effect, and irrigation usually delayed defoliation. Flower bud and shoot xylem hardiness differed by cultivar but not by ground cover and were generally enhanced by irrigation. Tree survival was significantly affected by cultivar, being best with `Harbrite' and `Canadian Harmony' and poorest with `Garnet Beauty'. Permanent sod enhanced tree survival while trickle irrigation reduced it. Cumulative marketable yields were affected more by cultivar than by ground cover or irrigation. `Canadian Harmony' had the highest yield, followed by `Harbrite', then `Garnet Beauty'. Yields in sod were slightly higher than in temporary cover and yields with trickle irrigation were slightly higher than without irrigation. The best soil-management system when TCA, marketable yield, and tree survival were considered was a combination of permanent creeping red fescue sod strips in the row middles and trickle irrigation in the tree row. This system is being recommended to commercial growers in southwestern Ontario.

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Neal Mays, Curt Richard Rom, Kristofor R. Brye, Mary C. Savin and M. Elena Garcia

and soil from two cores was ground and sieved through a 2-mm screen for particle size analysis following the 2-h hydrometer method of Arshad et al. (1996) . Field moisture capacity and permanent wilting point water contents and saturated hydraulic

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Whitney N. Griffin, Steven M. Cohan, John D. Lea-Cox and Andrew G. Ristvey

attempt to define plant available water and permanent wilting point for these same experimental GRS blends. Although the instruments used could not capture the entire water characteristic curve, the results herein support Griffin’s conclusion (2014) that

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Jorge A. Zegbe, M. Hossein Behboudian, Brent E. Clothier and Alexander Lang

. 1 except that for the PRD treatment, water was applied to one side of the tree row with the other side allowed to dry to a volumetric soil water content (θ) between 0.18 and 0.22 m 3 ·m −3 before being irrigated next to avoid permanent wilting point

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Lenny Wells

Tifton loamy sand (fine-loamy, siliceous, thermic Plinthic Paleudult) in Berrien County, GA in 2012. Neither saturated hydraulic conductivity, field capacity, nor permanent wilting point of soil at 0–20 cm depth was measured during the course of the study