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Influence of irrigation method and container type on Northern red oak seedling growth and media electrical conductivityAuthor(s): Anthony S. Davis; Douglass F. Jacobs; Ronald P. Overton; R. Kasten Dumroese
Source: Native Plants Journal. 9(1): 5-12
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionContainer production of hardwood seedlings has not been extensively practiced. Efficient nursery production of hardwood seedlings in containers can be limited by formation of a broad foliar canopy, which limits irrigation uniformity. This study was established to investigate suitability of subirrigation, a method of irrigating seedlings from the container base that relies on rise of water through capillary action, for production of broad-leaved hardwood seedlings. Northern red oak (Quercus rubra L. [Fagaceae]) seeds were sown into 4 container types, and seedlings were grown in a controlled greenhouse environment under either traditional overhead irrigation or subirrigation. Media electrical conductivity (EC) was measured at container depths of 1, 5, and 10 cm (0.4, 2, and 4 in) after 57 d. Subirrigated seedlings had significantly higher EC at each depth compared with overhead irrigated seedlings, with a trend of decreasing EC with increasing measurement depth. A significant container type x irrigation method interaction suggested potential for toxic EC levels in some subirrigated containers, which can be alleviated by periodic leaching using clear water to dissipate salts from the top 1 cm (0.4 in). At the end of the growing period, seedling height and root-collar diameter were not influenced by irrigation method or container type, indicating that subirrigation is suitable for hardwood seedling production.
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CitationDavis, Anthony S.; Jacobs, Douglass F.; Overton, Ronald P.; Dumroese, R. Kasten. 2008. Influence of irrigation method and container type on Northern red oak seedling growth and media electrical conductivity. Native Plants Journal. 9(1): 5-12
Keywordscontainer propagation, ebb-and-flow, hardwood seedlings, flood irrigation, seedling quality, subirrigation
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