Drip fertigation : effects on water movement, soil characteristics and root distribution

Pijl, Isabelle (2001-12)

Thesis (MScAgric)--University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The application of water and nutrients via a drip irrigation system influences the water distribution in the soil, soil characteristics and root distribution beneath the dripper. To determine the water distribution pattern beneath a dripper in sandy soil, EnviroSCAN (Sentek) capacitance probes were installed directly below the dripper and at distances of 20, 40 and 60 cm from the dripper. The continuous monitoring of the soil water content (SWC) beneath the dripper provided a good indication of how the water applied through the dripper is distributed in the soil. In this study a semi-impermeable layer in the soil was detected through observing water accumulation patterns in the SWC. Water accumulated above the layer and SWC values increased to far above the upper level of easily available soil water (EAWupper),while the lower soil layers remained drier. The measurements also show that the horizontal water movement is restricted to 20 cm from the dripper. Specific parameters, such as the lower level of easily available soil water (EAWlower),can be used to determine optimal irrigation management. Together with the water distribution study, the root distribution beneath a dripper was also investigated. A high concentration of roots in the area beneath the dripper was found, which corresponds with the area wetted by irrigation. In another study, three irrigationlfertigation methods where investigated to ascertain the influence on soil characteristics and root distribution. These were: micro irrigation (MI) (micro-spinner irrigation with broadcast granular fertilization), conventional drip fertigation (CDF) (daily drip irrigation with daily or weekly fertigation with a unbalanced nutrient solution, containing macronutrients only) and daily drip fertigation (DDF) (daily fertigation of a balanced nutrient solution, containing macro- and micronutrients). The study was conducted in two locations, viz. in the Western Cape Province, on sandy soil, and in the Eastern Cape Province, on silt loam soil. Micro Irrigation: A wide and even root distribution in the entire wetted volume was found on the sandy and silt loam soil. On the sandy soil, the soil pH(KC1)directly beneath the spinner was significantly lower than the pH(KC1)at positions further away from the spinner. Conventional Drip Fertigation: Root studies on sandy soil indicate a poor root development beneath the dripper, with a high concentration of roots in the area between the drippers. The poor root development directly beneath the dipper may be due to oxygen deficiency and/or acidification beneath the dripper. The soil pH(KC1)values show a significant lower pH(KC1)value directly beneath the dripper than further away. In comparison to the sandy soil, the roots developed well beneath a dripper in a silt loam soil. It appears as if soil acidity and/or oxygen deficiency was not a problem on this soil type. The rest of the root system was also well developed. This may be due to this soil's higher water holding capacity which creates a bigger wetted zone. Daily Drip Fertigation: In the sandy soil it seems that the roots developed in a continuous column beneath the dripper line, with little root development further than 20 cm from the dripper line. Where over-irrigation occurred, it caused a poor root development directly beneath the dripper. The root density in this treatment was much higher than in the other two treatments. The use of a balanced nutrient solution and pulse irrigation may be reasons for the better root development. In a silt loam soil a very high concentration of roots was found beneath the dripper and the rest of the root system was also well developed. As with the CDF treatment, it appears as if oxygen deficiency was not a problem on this soil type.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die toediening van water en voedingstowwe deur 'n drip-besproeiings stelsel beïnvloed die waterverspreiding in die grond sowel as die grondeienskappe en wortelverspreiding onder die dripper. Die waterverspreiding onder 'n dripper in 'n sandgrond is bepaal deur EnviroSCAN kapasitansie meetpenne direk onder die dripper en 20, 40 en 60 cm van 'n dripper af te installeer. Die aaneenlopende monitering van die grondwaterinhoud het 'n goeie indikasie van waterverspreiding in die grond gegee. Die horisontale waterbeweging is grootliks beperk tot 'n 20 cm radius vanaf die dripper en die waterbeweging was hoofsaaklik in 'n vertikale rigting. Die teenwoordigheid van 'n semi-deurlaatbare grondlaag in die grondprofiel is opgemerk deur water-akkumulasie in die profiel waar te neem. Wortelverspreiding onder die dripper is ook ondersoek en 'n hoë konsentrasie wortels is in die benatte sone gevind. In 'n verdere studie is drie besproeiings/sproeibemestings behandelings gebruik om die invloed van besproeiing/sproeibemesting op grondeienskappe en wortelverspreiding te ondersoek. Die drie behandelings was: mikro-besproeiing (mikro-besproeiing met korrelbemesting), konvensionele-drip-sproeibemesting (daaglikse drip-besproeiing met daaglikse of weeklikse sproeibemesting van 'n ongebalanseerde, voedingsoplossing wat alleenlik uit makro-elemente bestaan) en daaglikse-drip-sproeibemesting (daaglikse drip-besproeiing met daaglikse sproeibemesting van 'n gebalanseerde voedingsoplossing wat mikro- en makro-elemente bevat). Die studie is in twee areas gedoen, een in die Wes-Kaap, op 'n sandgrond, en die ander in die Oos-Kaap, op 'n slik-leemgrond. Mikro-besproeiing: Die wortelverspreidings studies op die sand- en slik-leemgrond wys op 'n wye en eweredige wortelontwikkeling in die totale benatte volume. Op die sand grond is gevind dat die grond pR(KCl)direk onder die sproeiertjie betekenisvol laer was as die pR(KCl)waardes verder weg van die sproeiertjie. Konvensionele-drip-sproeibemesting: Die wortelverspreiding in die sandgrond wys op geringe wortelontwikkeling direk onder die dripper met die hoogste konsentrasie wortels tussen die drippers. Grondversuring en/of suurstoftekorte onder die dripper kan die oorsaak wees van die swak wortelontwikkeling direk onder die dripper. Die grond pR(KCl)direk onder die dripper was betekenisvol laer as die pR(KCl)verder weg van die dripper. In vergelyking met die sandgrond, het die wortels in die slik-leemgrond goed ontwikkelonder die dripper. Dit wil voorkom of versuring en suurstoftekorte onder die dripper nie 'n probleem was in die slik-leemgrond nie. Die res van die wortelstelsel was ook goed ontwikkel. Dit mag wees weens die grond se hoë waterhoudingsvermoë wat 'n groot benatte area tot gevolg het. Daaglikse-drip-sproeibemesting: In die sand grond wil dit voorkom asof die wortels in 'n aaneenlopende kolom onder die dripperlyn ontwikkel met weinig wortelontwikkeling verder as 20 cm van die dripperlyn. Waar oorbesproeiing 'n probleem was, was daar weinig wortelontwikkeling in 'n klein area direk onder die dripper. Die wortel-digtheid in die behandeling was baie hoër as in die ander behandelings. Die gebruik van 'n gebalanseerde voedingsoplossing en puls-besproeiing mag dalk redes wees vir die beter wortelontwikkeling. In die slik-leemgrond is 'n hoë konsentrasie wortels onder die dripper gevind en die res van die wortelstelsel was ook goed ontwikkel. Soos in die konvensionele-drip-sproeibemesting behandeling wil dit voorkom of suurstoftekort en versuring onder die dripper nie 'n probleem was in die grond nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52245
This item appears in the following collections: