Split water application for a water supply reduction in Callistemon Citrinus pot plant
¹Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA) – Research Centre for Plant Protection and Certification (CREA-DC), Bagheria (PA), Italy
²Department of Agriculture, Food and Forest Sciences (SAAF) – University of Palermo -Viale delle Scienze, ed.4, ingresso H, - IT90128 Palermo, Italy
Irrigation management in Greenhouse Nursery Production (GNP) is based on empiric methods based on farmer personal experiences with over-irrigation results. The effects of irrigation volume and daily application were studied in a pot experiment carried out on rooted cuttings in a greenhouse The irrigation volume treatment was performed on Full and reduced Treatment. The treatment of water application was carried out with split supply and unsplit supply. The effects of the treatments were evaluated in terms of biomass accumulation and partitioning, leaf area, photosynthesis and stomatal response, chlorophyll content, and water productivity. Callistemon showed a good adaptation to the different treatments tested during the experiment. A positive relation was found between biomass accumulation and irrigation volume, moreover split water application increased plant Dry Weight.
Therefore, the highest biomass accumulation was registered in full irrigation volume in split application treatment, and this behavior was confirmed by the photosynthetic rate. No statistical differences were found, in terms of Relative Water Content (RWC), between the treatments. Stem water potential and stomatal conductance values suggest in Callistemon an anysohidric water stress response behavior.
Our results evidenced that, in Callistemon potted plants, an irrigation volume reduction is possible when a split application occurs during the daytime. A full irrigation volume amounts to 10.8 L per plant during the trial period of 90 days while the reduced volume amounts to 8.2 L per plant. Therefore, an increased water productivity can be obtained if the daily water requirement is split on two applications during the daytime. Our results highlighted a possible reduction in environmental impact of Callistemon greenhouse pot production, through the 25% reduction of the volume irrigation.