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Water Conserving Irrigation Practices, Plant Growth, Seasonal Crop Coefficients, and Nutrition of Container-Grown Woody Ornamentals

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Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, 1066 Bogue St. Rm. A288, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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Department of Geography, Michigan State University, 673 Auditorium Rd. Rm. 236A, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(10), 2070; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102070
Received: 3 September 2019 / Revised: 25 September 2019 / Accepted: 26 September 2019 / Published: 3 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Irrigation and Water Resources Management of Landscape Plants)
Irrigation practices for container nursery crops often result in over-application and can lead to leaching of nutrients and reduced growth. Our objectives were to: (1) compare growth and foliar nutrient content for plants under daily water use (DWU) based irrigation treatments, (2) determine DWU of 14 woody ornamental taxa, and (3) classify taxa into irrigation functional groups based on crop coefficients (KC). Irrigation was applied daily to 8 taxa in 2009 and 2010 using a control of 19 mm and three irrigation treatments: (1) replacing 100% plant DWU (100DWU) each day, (2) alternating 100% DWU with 75% DWU in a 2-day cycle (100-75DWU), and (3) a 3-day cycle replacing 100% DWU the first day and 75% DWU on the second and third days (100-75-75DWU). In 2009, seasonal average DWU ranged between 8.8 and 17.3 mm depending on taxa and treatment. Most DWU-based treatments resulted in less water applied than the control, yet plant growth was not reduced, and for one taxon (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’) the 100DWU increased plant growth index. Lower foliar P and K concentrations were found for several taxa in control versus DWU treatments. In 2010, DWU for the season ranged between 2.1- and 22.0-mm d−1 depending on taxa and treatment. Growth was lower only for 100-75-75DWU Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ compared to other treatments and there were no differences in foliar nutrient content. View Full-Text
Keywords: container production; foliar nutrition; nursery production; water management container production; foliar nutrition; nursery production; water management
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Fernandez, R.T.; Pershey, N.A.; Andresen, J.A.; Cregg, B.M. Water Conserving Irrigation Practices, Plant Growth, Seasonal Crop Coefficients, and Nutrition of Container-Grown Woody Ornamentals. Water 2019, 11, 2070.

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