Advanced Irrigation Management for Container-Grown Ornamental Crop Production

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Container-grown plants are constrained with regard to root growth, and are affected by factors including container size, substrate, weather, nutrition, and irrigation. Typical soilless substrates will hold less plant-available water than a typical field soil, making water management a critical component of any container-grown plant production system. A well-designed and managed irrigation system, which works in concert with the aforementioned factors, can provide the necessary quantity of water to support plant growth in an efficient manner.

This publication will discuss irrigation management practices to assist growers in more effectively managing the irrigation of containerized ornamental crops. Below, we will review key principles of 1) irrigation system design and maintenance, 2) irrigation system performance assessment, and 3) irrigation scheduling (or management) as they pertain to micro- and overhead-irrigation of container-grown crops.

James S. Owen Jr.
Anthony V. LeBude
Matthew Chappell
Virginia Cooperative Extension