How much water do your woody ornamentals really need?

Container nursery irrigation practices often result in over-application leading to nutrient leaching and reduced growth. The objectives of a new study were to: (1) compare growth and foliar nutrient content for plants under control (19 mm or ¾ inch daily) and 3 daily water use (DWU) based irrigation treatments; (2) determine DWU of 14 woody plants; and, (3) classify plants into irrigation groups. Average DWU ranged between 2.1 and 22.0 mm. Most DWU-based treatments resulted in less water applied than the control, yet plant growth was not reduced. Lower foliar P and K concentrations were found for several taxa in control versus DWU treatments.

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