Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource and there is increasing pressure on the greenhouse and nursery industries to use water more efficiently. For many years, it has been common practice to water until water runs out of the bottom of the pots, and up to 50% of all the water may be lost this way. In addition to inefficient water use, this results in leaching of fertilizer out of the pots, creating the possibility of runoff and pollution of ground- and/or surface water. By watering according to the needs of the plants, this can be prevented. We are working on using soil moisture sensors to determine when irrigation is needed and how much water needs to be applied to various crops to minimize leaching while still achieving optimum growth.
- van Iersel, M.W. 2003. Minimizing runoff and increasing water-use efficiency of nursery crops with pulse irrigation. Center for Applied Nursery Research Final Report.
- van Iersel, M.W. and Sue Dove. 2004. Water Requirements of Containerized Hydrangeas and Abelias. Center for Applied Nursery Research Final Report.
- Burnett, S., P. Thomas, and M.W. van Iersel. 2005. Post-germination drenches with PEG-8000 reduce growth of salvia and marigolds. HortScience40.
- van Iersel, M.W. and Krishna S. Nemali. 2004. Drought stress can produce small but not comapct marigolds. HortScience39.