Nav: Home

Container-grown conifers benefit from irrigation based on daily water use

December 21, 2015

EAST LANSING, MI - Competition for limited water resources is challenging producers of container-grown nursery plants to investigate alternative irrigation strategies. One water-conserving method available to nurseries is scheduling irrigation in response to plants' daily water use (DWU), a technique that has been shown to reduce water applications between 6% and 75% without negatively impacting the growth of ornamental shrubs.

In a study in the October 2015 issue of HortScience, scientists from Michigan State University said the runoff from nursery operations can also contain nitrate-nitrogen and phosphate-phosphorous, among other contaminants. They noted that previous research has shown decreased nutrient loading with DWU-based irrigation management systems. The scientists designed a study of four conifer varieties to determine the effects of four DWU-based irrigation treatments on plant performance and runoff water volume and quality.

Rooted cuttings of four conifers were given four irrigation treatments: a control irrigation of 0.75 acre-inch per day, irrigation applied to replace 100% daily water use, applications alternating 100% with 75% DWU in a 2-day cycle, and a 3-day application cycle replacing 100% DWU on the first day and 75% DWU on the second and third days. Irrigation volume, plant growth, runoff volume, and nitrate and phosphate concentrations for all treatments were analyzed.

Results showed that, compared with the control, irrigation applications (averaged over both years of the study) were reduced by 22%, 24%, and 28%, in the 100, 100-75, and 100-75-75 DWU treatments, respectively. Plant growth for the DWU based treatments was the same or greater than the control.

The 100% and 75% DWU irrigation applications reduced runoff NO3--N loading by 36% and 67%, and PO43--P loading by 38% and 57% when averaged over all measurement days.

"Not only do these outcomes translate to less eutrophication potential, but it could also save growers money in the form of fewer nutrient inputs and potentially lower energy costs for the pumping and distribution of water," the authors said.
-end-
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/50/10/1553.abstract

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org

American Society for Horticultural Science

Related Plant Growth Articles:

Plant cell walls' stretch-but-don't-break growth more complex than once thought
Plant cell wall growth is typically described as a simple process, but researchers using a microscope that can resolve images on the nanoscale level have observed something more complex.
Electronics to control plant growth
A drug delivery ion pump constructed from organic electronic components also works in plants.
Researchers develop equation that helps to explain plant growth
New UCLA biology breakthrough has important implications for plants as they adapt to a warming environment.
Mutant maize offers key to understanding plant growth
New findings by a University of California, Riverside-led team of researchers, lend support to the second idea, that the orientation of cell division is critical for overall plant growth.
How plant cells regulate growth shown for the first time
Researchers have managed to show how the cells in a plant, a multicellular organism, determine their size and regulate their growth over time.
Compounds produced by phytopathogenic microbes encourage plant growth
A broad range of microorganisms, including phytopathogenic fungi and bacteria, are capable of producing volatile compounds that encourage plant growth, flowering and the accumulation of reserve substances.
Compounds emitted by phytopathogen microbes encourage plant growth
A wide range of microorganisms, including fungi and phytopathogenic bacteria, are capable of emitting volatile compounds which boost plant growth and flowering, and in accumulating up reserves as demonstrated in a study led by scientific researchers at Navarra's Institute of Agro biotechnology, in northern Spain, which is a mixed centre shared between Spain's National Research Council (CSIC), the Public University of Navarra, and the Regional Government of Navarra.
Ancient proteins shown to control plant growth
A UCLA-led international team of life scientists reports the discovery of new mechanisms regulating plant growth that quite possibly provide new insights into how the mammalian biological clock affects human health.
Study finds that plant growth responses to high carbon dioxide depend on symbiotic fungi
Research by an international team of environmental scientists from the United Kingdom, Belgium and United States, including Indiana University, has found that plants that associate with one type of symbiotic fungi grow bigger in response to high levels of carbon dioxide, or CO2, in the atmosphere, but plants that associate with the other major type of symbiotic fungi do not.
New understanding of plant growth brings promise of tailored products for industry
In the search for low-emission plant-based fuels, new research could lead to sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel-based products.

Related Plant Growth Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#532 A Class Conversation
This week we take a look at the sociology of class. What factors create and impact class? How do we try and study it? How does class play out differently in different countries like the US and the UK? How does it impact the political system? We talk with Daniel Laurison, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College and coauthor of the book "The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged", about class and its impacts on people and our systems.