Analyzing rehydration efficiency of hydrophilic (wood fiber) vs potentially hydrophobic (peat) substrates using different irrigation methods
Risks of hydrophobicity are one of the most common issues in most soilless substrates. Their consequences in terms of low ability to rewet and decrease in water retention properties are well known, but have not been studied according to different irrigation methods. To that end, an experimental device has been developed in order to compare the rewetting properties of a hydrophilic (wood fiber) and a potentially hydrophobic (white peat) substrate under two irrigation methods (surface drip irrigation and sub-irrigation). Wood fiber remained hydrophilic and recovered its water retention properties after drying, whatever the intensity of drying and with both irrigation methods. Conversely, peat showed a change from hydrophilic to hydrophobic character and a decrease in the ability to rewet in relation with the intensity of drying. The dynamics in water uptake mainly differed for peat depending on both irrigation methods and initial moisture contents. Interpretation of results demonstrated that rewetting properties depend on the wettability of materials, whereas the dynamics of water uptake are governed by irrigation methods.
Michel, J.-C., Durand, S., Jackson, B.E. and Fonteno, W.C. (2021). Analyzing rehydration efficiency of hydrophilic (wood fiber) vs potentially hydrophobic (peat) substrates using different irrigation methods. Acta Hortic. 1317, 343-350
drip irrigation, sub-irrigation, rewetting, wettability, water uptake