Controlling salt flushing using a salinity index obtained by soil dielectric sensors improves the physiological status and quality of potted hydrangea plant

Journal ar
Scientia Horticulturae
  • Volumen: 247
  • Fecha: 15 March 2019
  • Páginas: 335-343
  • ISSN: 03044238
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.scienta.2018.12.026
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
© 2018Flushing is an effective tool for controlling the concentration of salt in the growing medium, where it affects ion uptake, water flow through the root and, consequently, the quality of the plant. To avoid over-irrigation in flushing, reliable methods for monitoring soil salinity are required. This paper studies the effectiveness of an index to determine substrate salinity in potted Hydrangea macrophylla when soil moisture and electrical conductivity (EC) sensors are used. The salinity index was calculated as the average of measurements of pore water EC between two successive irrigation events, based on GS3-Decagon sensor readings and the Hilhorst Model. Three treatments were applied: GS3-treatment (saline irrigation with flushing according to the salinity index), S-treatment (saline irrigation with no flushing), and control (irrigation with fresh water and no flushing). The plants of the S-treatment exhibited lower aerial dry weight, greater flower damage, poorer appearance, higher leaf chloride content, lower photosynthesis rate, and poorer photochemical behaviour than the plants from the other treatments. The better physiological behaviour and ornamental quality of the plants of the GS3-treatment compared with that observed for the S-treatment suggest that this salinity index is a reliable indicator to control salt flushing.

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