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Journal of Applied Horticulture. 2003: 5(2): 96-99

Performance of ornamental plants under deficit irrigation

Suleiman, M K; Bhat, N R; Bellen, R R

Aridland Agriculture and Greenery Department, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, P.O. Box 24885, Safat 13109, Kuwait.

To promote efficient use of expensive water resource as well as to maintain soil productivity and health in Kuwait, it is important to ascertain plant performance with regard to different irrigation regimes. A study was conducted to determine the effects of induced water stress on the growth and greenery impact of four ornamental plants, namely Vitex agnus-castus, Caesalpinia mexicana, Myoporum parvifolium and Rosmarinus officinalis, grown under the harsh arid climate of Kuwait. Acclimatized plants of these species were planted in Salmiya in July 2002. Plants were subjected to water stress by irrigating them at the rate of 25, 50 or 100% of the daily evapotranspiration rates during that month (3.75, 7.5 or 15.0 mm/d). The irrigation was adjusted according to average monthly ET rates. Growth and visual greenery impact data were recorded at weekly intervals during the first 87 days after planting and then at monthly intervals. Soil moisture was determined at weekly intervals using field tensiometers and oven-dry method prior to irrigation application. Plants that received 7.5 or 15.0 mm/day irrigation grew faster than those that received 3.75 mm/d. Plant canopy appeared to be more sensitive to water stress than the height. Among the species, V. agnus-castus was most sensitive to water stress.


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