Water Use of Landscape Trees During Pot-In-Pot Production and During Establishment in the Landscape
Witmer, Robert K.
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Water conservation and pollution concerns from nutrient runoff will very likely dictate precise irrigation regimes for nursery managers in Virginia. Maximum plant growth with minimum input of water and fertilizer is becoming increasingly important. Therefore, water use and growth of red and sugar maple (Acer rubrum L. 'Franksred' and Acer saccharum Marsh.) were studied during two years of pot-in-pot (P+P) production and during three years after transplanting to field soil. Three major experiments were completed. The first experiment studied the effect of frequent irrigation (three-times-a-day) versus standard once-a-day irrigation and found that frequent irrigation increased trunk diameter growth of sugar maples in the second production cycle and for red maples in both production cycles. Height growth of neither species was affected by frequent irrigation. A study of sap flow pattern indicated that late day water stress of red maples was partially alleviated by frequent irrigation. In the second experiment, red and sugar maples were transplanted to field soil after one (1-yr) or two (2-yr) years of P+P production. Irrigation frequency requirement decreased as the trees grew and depended on environmental conditions, size at planting, source of water (rainfall versus irrigation) and species. Height and trunk diameter of 1-yr red maple was equal to that of 2-yr trees after only one year. Height and trunk diameter differences between 1-yr and 2-yr sugar maple trees persisted three years after transplanting. In the third experiment water use of 1-yr and 2-yr red and sugar maple while in P+P production was investigated. Four models of daily water-use were developed. A simple model that is suitable for growers includes species, trunk cross-sectional area (BA) and air temperature (TA) observations. An environmental model was developed using the Penman-van Bavel estimate of evapotranspiration (ET). ET required modifications based on tree characteristics, air temperature, windspeed and relative humidity to be an effective predictor of water-use. A complex model was based on a sine-cosine function of day-of-the-year. This model fits water-use data well for each species and production cycle and includes BA, ET and TA. An alternate simpler model requires only day-of-the-year, TA and BA, offering growers a relatively simple and accurate model of water use.
- Doctoral Dissertations