Irrigation management of greenhouse zucchini with different soil matric potential level. Agronomic and environmental effects
Greenhouse horticultural crops are characterized by high levels of efficiency and productivity of irrigation water. But they still can and must be improved, especially in arid areas. The objective of this research was to study the effect of the soil matric potential level on the bio-productivity of zucchini crop, the water use efficiency (WUE) and nutrients use efficiency by changing the threshold of soil matric potential. An experiment was conducted in greenhouse-grown zucchini on a sand-mulched soil and fertigation with inorganic fertilizer. Automatic activation of irrigation through an electronic tensiometer and three treatments were applied: Activation of irrigation to -10kPa and application of volume of 1.5Lm -2 (T1), activation of irrigation to -25kPa and application of volume of 2.0Lm -2 (T2) and activation of irrigation to -40kPa and application of volume of 3.0Lm -2 (T3). Yield, leaf area, biomass, water consumption, WUE and nutrients, drainage volume and physical-chemical parameters of the soil were determined. The results show that T2 slightly reduced the weight of the fruit with respect to T1, but not the number of fruit, obtaining a significantly lower consumption of water. Lower weight fruits and less number of fruits were obtained by T3. Reducing the soil moisture tension level increased substantially water consumption as a result of the differences in vegetative growth (leaf area and biomass) in plants. Highest values of WUE and nutrients use efficiency were registered by T2 and T3. In none of the treatments, drainage was obtained. Soil physical-chemical parameters were not affected by treatments. Independently of soil matric potential, increased soil salinity occurred after the growing season. The soil matric potential of -25kPa was the best considering agronomic and environmental aspects, as the most efficient use of water and nutrients obtaining a commercial production of 15kgm -2 .
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