Several production nurseries were surveyed about techniques used to reduce water usage and runoff. The nurseries surveyed used from 400,000 gallons of water per day to 5,000,000 gallons of water per day during peak usage. Water availability and the potential for nitrate runoff from large production nurseries to contaminate the environment have resulted in requirements by regulatory agencies to decrease water usage and runoff. Nurseries have complied by using techniques such as drip irrigation, subirrigation, pulsing, recycling, and computer controlled irrigation systems. The use of techniques such as recycling and “better management practices” have resulted in significant decreases (approximately 30%) in water usage.
There are approximately 17,000 acres of fresh market vegetables and potatoes being produced on Long Island where irrigation is a routine agricultural production practice. Irrigation water is obtained from individual wells which pump water from an extensive underground aquifer. Although the quantity of water available for irrigation is not limited at present and will not be in the foreseeable future, the combination of agricultural practices, sandy soils and low soil pH's have had an impact on water quality. Certain pesticides move easily through the porous Long Island soils and are not quickly broken down at the naturally low pH levels of these soils. The use of Temik (aldicarb) for potato production resulted in ground water contamination with this chemical and spurred action by horticultural researchers and county and state agencies to define the scope of, and provide a potential solution for, contamination of Long Islands ground water. Thus, considerable effort has been expended on research and implementation programs to prevent ground water contamination with agricultural chemicals. Much of this effort has involved attempts to alter cultural practices, such as irrigation and pesticide application methods in order to decrease the potential for leaching of contaminants into the ground water. In addition, alternate crops have been considered which may require less irrigation and fewer pesticides than those traditionally grown. Specific research projects and government agency policies pertaining to agricultural water usage on Long Island will be discussed.
Yanjun Guo, Terri Starman, and Charles Hall
irrigation water usage, many studies have been conducted to determine bedding plants’ responses to water deficits using one of two methods: holding the substrate moisture content (SMC) at a constant level or repeatedly drying down from container capacity (CC
Robert E. Call
The San Pedro River has been impacted by continued growth of Fort Huachuca Military Base. The San Pedro River, a riparian-migratory area, has had continuous water flow but now has intermittent water flow. The cause is cones of depression in the aquifer due to domestic well pumping. The aquifer is recharge with water from the river. Cooperative Extension has implemented Resource Conservation Audits for landowners in the lower San Pedro Valley. Also, outdoor classrooms are being constructed at three schools to educate children and community members. The goal of these programs is to educate landowners on water conservation through the use of native and adapted drought-tolerant plants, xeriscaping, irrigation efficiency, water harvesting, soil erosion, and composting. Site visits help landowners identify opportunities to reduce water use. Research-based informational brochures have been produced so landowners can plan and implement water-saving techniques on their properties. This program has been implemented using six members of the Border Volunteer Corp., part of Americorp program.
Michael R. Evans, Matt Taylor, and Jeff Kuehny
. Comparison of water usage in plastic and biocontainers. Six-leaf plugs (#277 plug trays) of ‘Orbit Cardinal’ geranium were transplanted into the containers that had been filled with 400 or 740 mL of LC1 root substrate for the 4-inch and 5-inch containers
Julie P. Newman, J. Heinrich Lieth, and Ben Faher
An irrigation system for monitoring and controlling soil moisture tension in the root zones of potted plants using computer and solid-state tensiometer technologies was evaluated in a commercial greenhouse on 'V-14 Glory' poinsettias over a 10 week period. Replicated benches with separate drip circuits controlled by the computer maintained the soil moisture tension of the potted poinsettia plants between 1 kPa and 5 kPa. The amount of water used by each bench and the amount leached was compared to benches with separate drip circuits that were manually operated by the grower according to standard commercial practice. There was a 65% savings in the total amount of water used for the computer-controlled system and an average weekly reduction of 98.6% in leachate. The differences were significant and there was no measurable reduction in plant quality, even though soil analyses showed slightly elevated EC levels.
Michael R. Evans and Douglas Karcher
When the substrate surface and drainage holes of feather fiber, peat, and plastic containers were sealed with wax, hyperbolic growth curves were good fits to cumulative water loss on a per container and per cm2 basis, with R 2 values ranging from 0.88 to 0.96. The effect of container type was significant as the differences in asymptotic maximum water loss (max) values for all container pairs were significant at P < 0.05 for both water loss per container and water loss per cm2. The predicted total water loss for peat containers was ≈2.5 times greater than feather containers, and the predicted water loss per cm2 for the peat container was ≈3 times greater than feather containers. Vinca [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don.] `Cooler Blush' and impatiens (Impatiens walleriana Hook f.) `Dazzler Rose Star' plants grown in feather and peat containers required more water and more frequent irrigations than those grown in plastic containers. However, plants grown in feather containers required less water and fewer irrigations than plants grown in peat containers. The surface area of containers covered by algal or fungal growth was significantly higher on peat containers than on feather containers. No fungal or algal growth was observed on plastic containers. Additionally, primarily algae were observed on peat containers whereas most discoloration observed on feather containers was due to fungal growth. Dry feather containers had a higher longitudinal strength than dry plastic containers but a lower longitudinal strength than dry peat containers. Wet feather containers had higher longitudinal strength than wet peat containers but a similar longitudinal strength as wet plastic containers. Dry feather and plastic containers had similar lateral strengths and both had significantly higher lateral strength than dry peat containers. Wet feather containers had significantly lower lateral strength than wet plastic containers but had higher lateral strength than wet peat containers. Dry and wet plastic containers had higher punch strength than wet or dry peat and feather containers. Dry peat containers had significantly higher punch strength than dry feather containers. However, wet feather containers had significantly higher punch strength than wet peat containers. Decomposition of peat and feather containers was significantly affected by container type and the species grown in the container. When planted with tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum L.) `Better Boy', decomposition was not significantly different between the peat and feather containers. However, when vinca and marigold (Tagetes patula L.) `Janie Bright Yellow' were grown in the containers, decomposition was significantly higher for feather containers than for peat containers. Therefore, containers made from processed feather fiber provided a new type of biodegradable container with significantly improved characteristics as compared to peat containers.
Scott Henderson, David Gholami, and Youbin Zheng
a plant canopy, variation in light distribution to plants is an important factor to consider as well ( Jovicich et al., 2007 ; Körner et al., 2007 ; Stanghellini, 1988 ). Microclimate variation in a greenhouse can lead to uneven water usage within