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Review: Irrigation of floricultural and nursery crops with saline wastewaters

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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Water security has become a major concern throughout the western United States and other arid and semiarid regions worldwide. Uncertainties concerning the allocation and dependability of good quality water have led to increased interest in the use of alternative, non-potable waters for irrigated agriculture. Treated urban effluents, runoff from greenhouse operations, agricultural drainage waters, or naturally-occurring low quality waters are abundant in many arid or semiarid areas. Reuse of these waters for production of floral and nursery crops requires an understanding of plant response to the stress imposed by inorganic salts in the irrigation waters. Such an understanding will allow growers to match specific crops to available water qualities, and further, to institute management practices to sustain quality of the marketable product. This report reviews the results of studies conducted at the U.S. Salinity Laboratory, Riverside, CA, on the effect of saline irrigation waters on yield and quality of ten species of herbaceous cut flower crops. Test crops were: snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.), celosia (Celosia argentea var. cristata (L.) Kuntz), sunflower (Helianthus annuus (L.)), statice (Limonium perezii (Snapf) F.T. Hubb) and L. sinuatum (L.) Mill), stock (Matthiola incana (L.) R. Br.), ranunculus (Ranunculus asiatica L.), marigold (Tagetes erecta L. and T. patula L.), and zinnia (Zinnia elegans Jacq.). Treatment waters were prepared to simulate the inorganic chemistry of recyclable waters available in different areas of California. Guidelines are presented for reuse of degraded water for production of commercially important cut flower crops, and also for selection of crops suitable for salt-affected landscape sites.

Affiliations: 1: Water Reuse and Remediation Management Unit, U.S. Salinity Laboratory


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