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Assessing capillary rise in a field nursery considering irrigation management
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.orgCitation: 2008 Providence, Rhode Island, June 29 – July 2, 2008 083323.
Authors: Kati W Migliaccio, Bruce Schaffer, Jonathan Crane, Yuncong Li, Rafael Muñoz-Carpena
Keywords: Capillary rise, shallow groundwater table, irrigation, tensiometers
Capillary rise of water in the vadose zone at a field nursery in southern Florida was assessed to assist with irrigation management and ultimately improve irrigation Best Management Practices (BMPs). Soil water tension was measured every 15 minutes with 9 tensiometers at 3 depths: 15.2, 30.5, and 45.7 cm. Weather data were also collected at the site. Data were collected during the dry and wet seasons. Results obtained during the dry season suggest that the soil water content in the vadose zone is greater as the depth increases. It appears that soil water decreases throughout the day at all depths, likely due to evapotranspiration. At night when solar radiation is reduced, evapotranspiration is at a minimum in the subtropical environment and therefore little to no water is removed from the vadose zone into the atmosphere through either evaporation or transpiration. Based on the data collected during the dry season, it appears that water enters the soil profile from groundwater sources during the night increasing the volumetric water content. Alternatively, soil water in the soil profile during the wet season is greatly influenced by the frequent precipitation events. Soil water during the wet season was considerably greater with less diurnal variation. Results suggest that water from capillary rise may contribute more to plant water needs than irrigation during the dry season under current ground water table and climate conditions; irrigation may not be needed for established plants in similar environments; no irrigation is needed during a normal wet season with similar conditions; and soil water tension was most correlated to groundwater table height during both dry and wet seasons.