Spray stake irrigation of container-grown plants

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Virginia Tech


Studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of pre-irrigation media moisture deficit, irrigation application rate, and intermittent irrigation on irrigation efficiency [(amount applied - amount leached) amount applied' 100] of spray stake-irrigated, container-grown plants. In the first experiment, pine bark-filled containers were irrigated to replace moisture deficits of 600, 1200, or 1800 ml. Deficits were returned in single, continuous applications at application rates of 148, 220, and 270 ml/min. Application rate did not affect irrigation efficiency. Efficiency decreased with increased medium moisture deficit. In the second experiment, containers, at 600 ml media moisture deficits, were irrigated with 400 or 600 ml (65% and 100% water replacement, respectively). Irrigation volumes were returned in a single, continuous application or in 100ml applications with 30 min intervals between irrigations (intermittent). Irrigation efficiency was greater with intermittent irrigation, 95 % and 84 % for 400 and 600 ml replacement, respectively, than with continuous irrigation, 84% and 67% for 400 and 600 ml replacement, respectively. When applied intermittently, most water loss from containers occurred after 400 ml were applied. In the third experiment, containers were irrigated with 600 ml (100% water replacement) in 50, 100, or 150 ml applications with 20, 40, or 60 min intelVals between applications. A control was included in which 600 ml was applied in a single, continuous application. Irrigation efficiency increased with decreasing application volume and increasing length of interval between applications. The greatest efficiency (86%) was produced with an irrigation regimen of 50 ml applications with at least 40 min between applications. The control treatment (continuous) produced an irrigation efficiency of 62%. When applied intermittently, most water loss from containers occurred after a total of 300 ml were applied.