E.-L. Louw
Arnelia Farms is a potted plant nursery as well as an export cut flower farm close to the town of Hopefield on the West Coast of South Africa. The nursery specialises in Proteaceae although the range is slowly expanding to complementary plant families. Except for two species which are propagated from seed the other cultivars currently in production are vegetatively propagated from mother stock. The mother stock is a high value section in the nursery and irrigation (fertigation) needs to be monitored very closely as these plants are sensitive to increased levels of nitrates and phosphate as well as water-logged conditions in winter and drying out during summer. Irrigation monitoring takes place by continuous logging soil moisture probes, weekly measuring of the total drainage water, and daily total irrigation water supplied, measuring the EC and checks by the nursery manager. Similar irrigation monitoring is done in the retail section (15-cm pots). Temperature is recorded by an automated weather station. The difference in EC calculated between the EC of the drainage water and EC of the irrigation water, as well as the soil moisture recorded with the probes, correlated well with mean daily and mean daily maximum temperature. Over time, analysis of data will improve the manager’s ability to make decisions concerning irrigation and reduce the risk.
Louw, E.-L. (2015). MONITORING IRRIGATION IN A PRODUCTION NURSERY©. Acta Hortic. 1085, 9-12
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1085.2

Acta Horticulturae