Timer versus moisture sensor-based irrigation control of soilless lettuce: Effects on yield, quality and water use efficiency

https://doi.org/10.17221/312/2014-HORTSCICitation:Montesano F.F., van Iersel M.W., Parente A. (2016): Timer versus moisture sensor-based irrigation control of soilless lettuce: Effects on yield, quality and water use efficiency. Hort. Sci. (Prague), 43: 67-75.
download PDF
The study compares the effects of: timer (‘Timer’) and soil moisture sensor-controlled irrigation on soilless lettuce; two volumetric water content (Θ) thresholds for irrigation (0.30 (‘Θ = 0.3’) and 0.40 m3/m3 (‘Θ = 0.4’)). The most nutrient solution (NS) was applied in ‘Timer’ where the lowest water use efficiency was observed, with 17 and 42% less NS used in ‘Θ = 0.4’ and ‘Θ = 0.3’, respectively. Irrigation volumes followed the plant water needs in the sensor-controlled treatments, with little or no leaching, while 18% of leaching was recorded in ‘Timer’. Plants in ‘Timer’ and ‘Θ = 0.4’ had higher fresh weights (24%) and leaf area (13%) than plants in ‘Θ = 0.3’. Similar dry weight was observed among treatments but percentage of dry matter was 20% higher in ‘Θ = 0.3’. Gas exchanges and leaf tissues chemical composition were similar in all treatments, but nitrate concentration was lower in the ‘Θ = 0.3’ plants. Precision sensor-controlled irrigation based on Θ measurements is an effective tool to increase the overall water use efficiency and to improve the quality of soilless-grown lettuce by acting on the substrate moisture level. 
Anonymous (2000): Establishing a framework for community action in the field of water policy (Water Framework Directive), 2000/60/EC, L327.
Argo W. (1998): Root medium physical properties. HortTechnology, 8: 481–485.
Altland J.E., Owen Jr J.S., Fonteno W.C. (2010): Developing moisture characteristic curves and their descriptive functions at low tensions for soilless substrates. Journal of American Society for Horticultural Science, 135: 563–567.
Blackstock K.L., Ingram J., Burton R., Brown K.M., Slee B. (2010): Understanding and influencing behaviour change by farmers to improve water quality. Science of The Total Environment, 408, 5631-5638  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.04.029
Boyer J. S. (1970): Leaf Enlargement and Metabolic Rates in Corn, Soybean, and Sunflower at Various Leaf Water Potentials. PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 46, 233-235  https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.46.2.233
Burnett S.E., van Iersel M.W. (2008): Morphology and irrigation efficiency of Gaura lindheimeri grown with capacitance sensor-controlled irrigation. HortScience, 43: 1555–1560.
de Boodt M., Verdonck O. (1972): THE PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF THE SUBSTRATES IN HORTICULTURE. Acta Horticulturae, , 37-44  https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1972.26.5
Dukes M.D., Zotarelli L., Morgan K.T. (2010): Use of irrigation technologies for vegetable crops in Florida. HortTechnology, 20: 133–142.
Elia A., Santamaria P., Serio F. (1996): Ammonium and nitrate influence on artichoke growth rate and uptake of inorganic ions. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 19, 1029-1044  https://doi.org/10.1080/01904169609365178
Fallovo Carlo, Rouphael Youssef, Rea Elvira, Battistelli Alberto, Colla Giuseppe (2009): Nutrient solution concentration and growing season affect yield and quality of Lactuca sativa L. var. acephala in floating raft culture. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 89, 1682-1689  https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.3641
Gulías J., Seddaiu G., Cifre J., Salis M., Ledda L. (2012): Leaf and Plant Water Use Efficiency in Cocksfoot and Tall Fescue Accessions under Differing Soil Water Availability. Crop Science, 52, 2321-  https://doi.org/10.2135/cropsci2011.10.0579
Johnson C. M., Stout P. R., Broyer T. C., Carlton A. B. (1957): Comparative chlorine requirements of different plant species. Plant and Soil, 8, 337-353  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01666323
Jones H.G.( 2007): Monitoring plant and soil water status: Established and novel methods revisited and their relevance to studies of drought tolerance. Journal of Experimental Botany, 55: 2427–2436.
Jury W. A., Vaux H. (2005): The role of science in solving the world's emerging water problems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 15715-15720  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0506467102
Kl�ring Hans-Peter (2001): Strategies to control water and nutrient supplies to greenhouse crops. A review. Agronomie, 21, 311-321  https://doi.org/10.1051/agro:2001126
Lichtenberg E., Majsztrik J., Saavoss M. (2013): Profitability of sensor-based irrigation in greenhouse and nursery crops. HortTechnology, 23: 770–774.
Lichtenberg Erik, Majsztrik John, Saavoss Monica (2015): Grower demand for sensor-controlled irrigation. Water Resources Research, 51, 341-358  https://doi.org/10.1002/2014WR015807
Manzocco Lara, Foschia Martina, Tomasi Nicola, Maifreni Michela, Dalla Costa Luisa, Marino Marilena, Cortella Giovanni, Cesco Stefano (2011): Influence of hydroponic and soil cultivation on quality and shelf life of ready-to-eat lamb's lettuce (Valerianella locusta L. Laterr). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 91, 1373-1380  https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.4313
Naasz R., Michel J.-C., Charpentier S. (2005): Measuring Hysteretic Hydraulic Properties of Peat and Pine Bark using a Transient Method. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 69, 13-  https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2005.0013
Nemali Krishna S., van Iersel Marc W. (2006): An automated system for controlling drought stress and irrigation in potted plants. Scientia Horticulturae, 110, 292-297  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2006.07.009
Nemali K., van Iersel M. (2008): Physiological responses to different substrate water contents: screening for high water-use efficiency in bedding plants. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 133: 333–340.
Nemali Krishna S., Montesano Francesco, Dove Sue K., van Iersel Marc W. (2007): Calibration and performance of moisture sensors in soilless substrates: ECH2O and Theta probes. Scientia Horticulturae, 112, 227-234  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2006.12.013
Reinink Kees (1993): Relationship between effects of seasonal change on nitrate and dry matter content in lettuce. Scientia Horticulturae, 53, 35-44  https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-4238(93)90135-D
Reinink Kees, Biom-Zandstra Margaretha (1989): The relation between cell size, ploidy level and nitrate concentration in lettuce. Physiologia Plantarum, 76, 575-580  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1399-3054.1989.tb05481.x
Reinink K., Groenwold R., Bootsma A. (1987): Genotypical differences in nitrate content inLactuca sativa L. and related species and correlation with dry matter content. Euphytica, 36, 11-18  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00730642
Scuderi Domenica, Restuccia Cristina, Chisari Marco, Barbagallo Riccardo N., Caggia Cinzia, Giuffrida Francesco (2011): Salinity of nutrient solution influences the shelf-life of fresh-cut lettuce grown in floating system. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 59, 132-137  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.postharvbio.2010.08.016
Selma María V., Luna María C., Martínez-Sánchez Ascensión, Tudela Juan A., Beltrán David, Baixauli Carlos, Gil María I. (2012): Sensory quality, bioactive constituents and microbiological quality of green and red fresh-cut lettuces (Lactuca sativa L.) are influenced by soil and soilless agricultural production systems. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 63, 16-24  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.postharvbio.2011.08.002
Shock C.C., Wang F.-X. (2011): Soil water tension, a powerful measurement for productivity and stewardship. HortScience, 46: 178– 85.
TOMÁS M., MEDRANO H., POU A., ESCALONA J.M., MARTORELL S., RIBAS-CARBÓ M., FLEXAS J. (2012): Water-use efficiency in grapevine cultivars grown under controlled conditions: effects of water stress at the leaf and whole-plant level. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 18, 164-172  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-0238.2012.00184.x
Valenzano V., Parente A., Serio F., Santamaria P. (2015): Effect of growing system and cultivar on yield and water-use efficiency of greenhouse-grown tomato. The Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 83, 71-75  https://doi.org/10.1080/14620316.2008.11512349
van Iersel M. W., Dove S., Kang J.G., Burnett S.E. (2010): Growth and water use of petunia as affected by substrate water content and daily light integral. HortScience, 45: 277–282.
van Iersel M.W., Chappell M., Lea-Cox J.D. (2013): Sensors for improved irrigation management in greenhouse and nursery production. HortTechnology, 23: 735–746.
Wallach R. (2008): Physical characteristics of soilless media. In: Raviv M., Lieth J.H. (eds): Soilless Culture: Theory and Practice. Amsterdam, Elsevier: 41–116.
Wang Yanzhe, Zhang Xiying, Liu Xiuwei, Zhang Xiaoyu, Shao Liwei, Sun Hongyong, Chen Suying (2013): The effects of nitrogen supply and water regime on instantaneous WUE, time-integrated WUE and carbon isotope discrimination in winter wheat. Field Crops Research, 144, 236-244  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2013.01.021
Yeager T., Fare D., Gilliam C., Niemiera A., Bilderback T., Tilt K. (1997): Best management practices guide for producing container-grown plants. Southern Nurserymen’s Assn., Marietta, GA.
download PDF

© 2020 Czech Academy of Agricultural Sciences