Irrigation need

Soil texture and depth, depth of root development and soil moisture content govern the amount of water to be applied in any irrigation. To irrigate a nursery crop scientifically, nursery staff may need the following information to compute the amount of water to be applied.

1. The average depth of the plant layer (Conventionally this has been 18 cm).

2. The bulk density (BD)

The BD of most of the bare root nursery soils averages 1.3 g/cm3, ranging from 0.9 g/cm3 in sands to 1.6 g/cm3 in clay loams. The soil moisture retention curve is the per cent total soil moisture content by weight (TSMC by wt) plotted over soil moisture tension per cent at field capacity (-0..1 bar) n=and upper limit of dryness between (-0.5 and -0.75 bar). From the information, the amount of irrigation required to maintain the soil within the optimum moisture range fro growth can be calculated.

Quantity of water

An abundant source of water required to meet irrigation requirement is an important component of any nursery. This source must be able to meet the demand for all water requirement regardless of season, severe irrigation need and water requirements for other purposes. Water sources for bare-root nurseries are usually streams, rivers or wells on or near the nursery property. In order to estimate the quantity of water to apply in one month, the following formulae can be used.

Water quantity = Water lose factor x Area of seed bed x Monthly evapotranspiration

where water loss factor varies between 1.2 to 1.4, averaging 1.3.

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