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Irrigation Scheduling to Mitigate the Cost and Environmental Impact of Ontario’s Ornamental Nurseries

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Title: Irrigation Scheduling to Mitigate the Cost and Environmental Impact of Ontario’s Ornamental Nurseries
Author: Stoochnoff, Jared
Department: School of Environmental Sciences
Program: Environmental Sciences
Advisor: Dixon, Mike
Abstract: In typical ornamental nurseries, irrigation schedules are subjectively established, often resulting in excessive water use and significant fertilizer leaching. Using stem psychrometers to directly measure plant water status (PWS), the relationship between water stress, prevailing environmental conditions, and species-specific stress tolerance thresholds was characterized. Irrigation scheduling on predicted plant water status thresholds correlated to cumulative daily environmental conditions (i.e., cumulative vapour pressure deficit) were tested on four tree species (Pyrus chanticleer, Thuja occidentalis, Amelanchier laevis, Celtis occidentalis) grown in a drip irrigated pot-in-pot production system. Three irrigation treatments were applied: 1) Conventional practice (Control), 2) Moderate restriction/stress, and 3) High restriction/stress. The moderate and high treatments reduced water consumption by 46% and 63%, respectively. Control and moderate trees did not differ in quantitative growth parameters (e.g. caliper, height), while high stress treatment trees grew slower but otherwise appeared healthy. This study demonstrated that irrigation schedules based on predicted PWS thresholds significantly reduced water use without impacting plant growth and quality.
Date: 2017-12
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada