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Water Use of Southern Highbush Blueberry Jeff Williamson Horticultural Sciences Department IFAS, University of Florida.

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Presentation on theme: "Water Use of Southern Highbush Blueberry Jeff Williamson Horticultural Sciences Department IFAS, University of Florida."— Presentation transcript:

1 Water Use of Southern Highbush Blueberry Jeff Williamson Horticultural Sciences Department IFAS, University of Florida

2 Pine Bark Culture

3 Bark beds are currently one of the common methods for growing SHB. Pine bark increases organic matter, decreases soil pH, maintains N in NH 4 form.

4 Before planting

5

6 Newly planted blueberry field on pine bark beds in Florida

7 Newer system – bark incorporated into soil with ground cloth and drip irrigation

8 Bark beds Bark incorporated into soil Incorporated bark with ground cloth Pine bark increases organic matter, decreases soil pH, maintains N in NH 4 form, Examples of SHB production systems

9 While overhead irrigation is still needed for freeze protection, most new plantings are low-volume, usually drip or drip with ground cover. While overhead irrigation is still needed for freeze protection, most new plantings are low-volume, usually drip or drip with ground cover.

10 Excavated Blueberry Plant Root system was only a few inches deep

11 The bark bed and root system was easily separated from soil with very few roots located in the underlying soil

12

13 Soil depth (inches) Soil treatmentPercent of total roots 0 to 3.5Bark bed44 Bark incorporated46 4 to 7.0Bark bed37 Bark incorporated to 10.5Bark bed19 Bark incorporated8 Blueberry roots at three soil depths for two soil treatments

14 Plant water potential during the fruit ripening period OBJECTIVES The objective of this study was to evaluate plant drought stress during the final stages of fruit development of blueberry grown in several soil management systems without irrigation. Predawn and solar noon plant water potential of ‘Emerald’ SHB was measured with a pressure chamber during a dry period of fruit development and no irrigation was applied. MATERIALS AND METHODS

15 b b a b b b a b ab b a Irrigation was shut off

16 b b a b ab b a b b a b b b a b b b a b b a Irrigation was shut off

17 Blueberry irrigation Root zone coverage is critical in pine bark culture where lateral water movement is limited.Root zone coverage is critical in pine bark culture where lateral water movement is limited.

18 Preparing holes for lysimeters

19

20 Bark or soil/bark mixture added

21 Transplanting blueberry plant

22 Plant positioned above lysimeter December, 2009

23 June, 2011

24 December, 2011

25 Treatme nt June 2010 Aug 2010 June 2011 After pruning Dec Dec 2012 Soil B B+S Irr. freq. 1x/day x/day Plant canopy volume (yd 3 )

26 Treatment Soil Bark B+S Irrigation Once/day Twice/day Berry yield (lbs./plant) in 2011 and 2012

27 Estimate of daily water use of microsprinkler-irrigated blueberries from April, 2010 to December 1202.

28

29 Monthly means + SE of daily water use of mature ‘Emerald’ southern highbush blueberry plants averaged across treatments and years from April, 2010 to Sept *Means for one year due to complications from overhead irrigation for freeze protection. Daily plant water use of mature ‘Emerald’ blueberry plants by month averaged across treatments and years.

30

31 Monthly Kc means + SE for mature ‘Emerald’ southern highbush blueberry plants averaged across treatments and years from April, 2010 through September, Kc values are based on 3 ft. in-row by 10 ft. between row plant spacing (1452 plants/a.). *Mean for one year due to complications from overhead irrigation for freeze protection. Mean annual Kc = Monthly crop coefficients (Kc) for mature ‘Emerald’ blueberry plants Averaged across treatments and years from April, 2010 to Sept. 2012

32 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulyAugSepOctNovDec gal/day gal/month 19,37540,65664,82167,95089,12579,29088,22697,68180,58058,52844,88026,102 Estimated per acre water use of mature ‘Emerald’ blueberry plants at 3’ by 10’ spacing (1452 plants/a) Yearly water use = 757,214 gal. per acre or acre-inches in the planted field. Assuming 4 ft. wide beds with 10 ft. row spacing ≈ inches in the row bed (area with root system).

33 Conclusions Southern highbush blueberry plants are shallow-rooted and drought susceptible. 80+% of roots were in the top 7 inches of soil. Frequent, light, irrigations are needed during the growing season. Bark, applied as either a bed or incorporated into the soil reduced drought stress. Regardless of soil treatment, plant water stress increased significantly after 3 days without irrigation.

34 Conclusions Monthly averages for daily plant water use of mature ‘Emerald’ blueberry plants ranged from about 0.6 gal/day (winter) to over 2 gallons/day (mid to late summer). Water demands increased rapidly in the spring (March) and peak water demands occurred during the late stages of fruit development (late April and May) and in mid to late summer (July – Sept.). Maximum monthly averages ≈ 2.0 – 2.25 gal./plant/day. Monthly averages do not reflect the day to day variation in water demand which is heavily influenced by weather and can be considerably greater or less than the monthly averages. Summer pruning significantly reduced plant water use for 3 to 4 weeks until plant canopies were re-established. Kc values can be used with reference ET to determine general water requirements. Soil moisture monitoring devices along with a knowledge of rooting depth, distribution, and soil water holding characteristics are useful when developing irrigation schedules.

35 Acknowledgements Southwest Florida Water Management District Florida Blueberry Growers Association Luis Mejia, graduate student, Horticultural Sciences Department, IFAS, UF Bradley Ferguson, graduate student, Horticultural Sciences Department, IFAS, UF Paul Miller, former biologist, Horticultural Sciences Department, IFAS, UF Eric Ostmark, biologist, Horticultural Sciences Department, IFAS, UF

36 Thank You! Questions?


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