THE CAPILLARY BED METHOD OF IRRIGATING NURSERY STOCK
John Joe Costin
Capillary watering of plants was first developed as a research tool to eliminate uneven watering as a factor in experimental work. The National Institute of Agricultural Engineering (1) in England published in 1964, a paper on the results of that work showing how a bench system could be used for the watering of house plants. In Ireland in 1975 Lamb, Kelly and Bowbrick (2) described how capillary beds could be used for the production of outdoor nursery stocks. Margaret Scott at Efford in England was making similar modifications for outdoor use. This paper describes the further modifications and adaptations of the system in a commercial nursery.
The principle of the system is that water flows upwards from the water level into small soil spaces or pores by capillary attraction. The rise in water obtained increases as the size of pore decreases. There are a range of pore sizes in compost. The capillary rise will vary with these. The smaller spaces will be filled with water while air will
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