Water use and plant growth of selected container grown ornamental plants under capillary wick based irrigation system and conventional irrigation system in Kenya

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Research Paper 01/07/2017
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Water use and plant growth of selected container grown ornamental plants under capillary wick based irrigation system and conventional irrigation system in Kenya

Mburu Martin Mungai, Kariuki Wariara, Home Patrick Gathogo, Wesonga John Mwibanda, Adimo Aggrey Ochieng
Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res.11( 1), 32-41, July 2017.
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The Ornamental Horticulture industry is a major industry in the world, comprising a complex group of enterprises which consume a lot of water. The current irrigation production system of potted ornamental plants in Kenya involves the use of hosepipes and watering cans, methods which are inefficient as water and nutrients are lost through drainage. A study was carried out from May 2015 to April 2016, in Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) farm, Kenya, to evaluate a sub irrigation system, the Capillary Wick based Irrigation System, CWS, for selected potted ornamental plants (Spathiphyllum clevelandii, white anthurium; Cordyline terminalis, red dracaena; Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant; Dracaena fragrans, corn plant and Epiprenum aureus, money plant) production, as compared to the Conventional Irrigation System, CIS, overhead irrigation. The experiment was laid out in a split plot design replicated three times. The amount of water applied in the two systems was determined weekly throughout the growing period. Vegetative growth in both systems was assessed in terms of leaf expansion and plant height. The growth data was subjected to Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and means separation done by Turkey at p≤0.05. CWS resulted in an average of 63.75% reduction in net water use compared with CIS. Thus, CWS offers promising potential for potted ornamental plants production when compared with CIS, given the added benefits of water conservation, reduced labour cost and nutrient runoff. Studies should be done with more ornamental plant species so as to determine their suitability for growing in the CWS.


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