Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 80 (2) 81-86 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2015/80.2.6|
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2015 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article
Growth and water use efficiency of potted Murraya paniculata as affected by irrigation system and container size
G. Fascella1 and Y. Rouphael2
1 Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria, Unità di Ricerca per il Recupero e la Valorizzazione delle Specie Floricole Mediterranee, Palermo, Italy
2 Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Portici, Italy
Irrigation system and pot size can affect the growth and development of containerized ornamental crops. A greenhouse experiment was carried out from November 2011 till July 2012, in order to determine the influence of two irrigation systems (closed drip-irrigation or subirrigation) and two pot sizes (∅ 14 or 18 cm) on growth, chlorophyll content, leaf gas exchanges and water use efficiency (WUE) of potted Murraya paniculata. Subirrigation offered promising potential for M. paniculata when compared to drip-irrigation given the similar growth and the higher WUE. Lower variation of the electrical conductivity in the subirrigation in comparison to drip-irrigation represents a crucial aspect for the simplification of the nutrient solution management. Increasing the pot size from 14 to 18-cm diameter yielded plants with 156%, 30%, 43%, and 138% more shoot biomass, height, leaf number and area, respectively. Best performance of plants grown in 18 cm-pots was attributed to higher net photosynthesis and SPAD index (by 35% and 16%, respectively), suggesting that suitable manipulation of container volume and switching from drip-irrigation to subirrigation will yield high quality potted M. paniculata and improve WUE.
closed loop system, drip-irrigation, photosynthesis, pot size, SPAD index, subirrigation
Significance of this study
What is already known on this subject?
What are the new findings?
A wide range of closed soilless systems have been developed for potted ornamental plants. Drip-irrigation is the most common irrigation practice in potted ornamental and vegetable crops. Recently, there is a high interest in subirrigation as an efficient alternative to drip-irrigation systems for potted ornamental production.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
Subirrigation should be preferred due to similar biomass of drip-irrigation, higher WUE and less variation of EC in the nutrient solution leading to a simplification of nutrient management in closed soilless systems. The results also demonstrated that increasing container volume resulted in larger Murraya paniculata plants and higher WUE.
These findings might play a crucial role in management decisions by growers, thereby contributing to enhanced ornamental production.
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Received: 28 October 2014 | Revised: 3 March 2015 | Accepted: 10 March 2015 | Published: 22 April 2015 | Available online: 22 April 2015