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Horticulturae 2018, 4(3), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae4030023

A Semi-Systematic Review of Capillary Irrigation: The Benefits, Limitations, and Opportunities

Natural and Built Environments Research Centre, School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes 5095, Australia
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Received: 19 July 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
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Abstract

Capillary irrigation systems have been investigated for some years as a means to deliver water to plants in container gardening. This review paper identifies that traditional capillary irrigation systems such as capillary wicks, capillary mats, and ebb and flow systems have been shown to produce higher crop yields and use less water than conventional irrigation methods. In addition, capillary irrigation offers an added advantage by reducing the volume of potentially harmful leachate into surrounding soil environments. However, these systems are basically limited to small pot sizes and are widely used for growing ornamental and nursery plants in glasshouse conditions. Further, the cost and complexity of Negative Pressure Difference Irrigation may have limited its practical use. Conversely, wicking beds (WBs) are low-tech and water-efficient systems which can be used for growing plants with different rooting depths. Irrespective of the wide acceptance of WBs among the growing community, this review recognises that there is no published research providing design recommendations for WBs and their expected performance relative to other irrigation systems. Therefore, some potential advantages of WBs are noted in the context of capillary irrigation research; however, a substantial knowledge gap exists relating to the optimised design and use of WBs. View Full-Text
Keywords: capillary irrigation; PRISMA; review; subirrigation; water use efficiency; wicking bed capillary irrigation; PRISMA; review; subirrigation; water use efficiency; wicking bed
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Semananda, N.P.K.; Ward, J.D.; Myers, B.R. A Semi-Systematic Review of Capillary Irrigation: The Benefits, Limitations, and Opportunities. Horticulturae 2018, 4, 23.

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