T.H. Yeager, R.W. Henley
Regulations regarding the use of water and concerns for ground and surface water pollution have resulted in Florida nursery and greenhouse plant producers seeking irrigation and nutrient delivery systems that minimize negative environmental impacts. In view of this, irrigation and nutrient management systems that result in minimal environmental impact were installed and evaluated in commercial greenhouses in central Florida. Systems evaluated included 1) capillary wick containers, 2) capillary mats and 3) water collection reservoirs beneath individual containers. These systems were compared to traditional overhead water delivery. Results indicated that less water was applied during plant production with capillary wicks than mats, although both systems require less water than overhead irrigation. For example, during a 2-month period in which Calathea orbifolia were grown in 20-cm diameter containers, plants irrigated with wicks and mats received approximately one-third and one-half, respectively, the water applied with overhead irrigation. Change in plant growth index during this time was largest for plants irrigated with capillary wicks. In another evaluation, shadehouse-grown Spathiphyllum wallisii ‘Ty’s Pride’ growth indices were similar when plants received controlled-release fertilizer on substrate surface of each container or fertilizer applied through overhead irrigation water. The total daily load of nitrogen to the ground beneath plants was largest for fertilizer applied through overhead irrigation. Information from these irrigation and fertilization evaluations will be used to develop Best Management Practices for the nursery industry.
Yeager, T.H. and Henley, R.W. (2004). IRRIGATION AND FERTILIZATION FOR MINIMAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT. Acta Hortic. 638, 225-230
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2004.638.30
runoff, ornamental plants, fertigation, controlled-release fertilizer, nitrogen

Acta Horticulturae