5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Emmanuel Torres-Quezada
Session Name Water Use in Agriculture
Author(s) Emmanuel  Torres-Quezada,  University of Florida (Presenting Author)
  Lincoln  Zotarelli ,  University of Florida
  Vance  whitaker, university of florida
  Rebecca Darnell, University of Florida
  Kelly  Morgan, University of Florida
  Application of kaolin clay during strawberry establishment as a water conservation practice in Florida
  Strawberry bare-root transplants are the most commonly-used in Florida. In order to establish bare-root transplants during the first 10 days, overhead sprinkler irrigation is used for eight hours per day to reduce air temperature around the strawberry crown. This practice accounts for one-third of the total water needed for the strawberry season. New establishment practices could allow strawberry plants to tolerated high air temperatures during establishment without excessive use of water. Application of Kaolin clay on the top surface of the planting beds had been reported to lower the temperature around the crown during establishment. The objective of this experiment was to determine the most adequate planting date and effect of Kaolin clay as establishment practices for two strawberry cultivars. Twenty-four treatments resulted from the combination of two cultivars (e.g. ‘Strawberry Radiance (SR)’ and ‘Florida 127’ Sensation TM), three planting dates (e.g. Sept. 24, Sept. 30, Oct. 7), and four establishment practices (10 days of sprinkler irrigation (DSI) (common practice, control), 10 DSI + Kaolin clay (S) at the 11th day, 7 DSI and 7 DSI + S at the 8th day). Treatments were setup in a split-split plot design with four replications, with planting dates in the main plot and establishment practice in the sub-plot. There was an interaction between planting dates, establishment practice and cultivars. Sensation TM and Radiance, planted in Sept. 24 with 10 DSI, 10 DSI +S and 7 DSI +S and Sensation TM, planted in Sept. 30 with 7 DSI + S resulted in the highest fruit yield. Within these treatments, there was no difference between 10 DSI or 7 DSI +S. Based in our results, strawberry growers could reduce the water usage for strawberry establishment by 30% by applying Kaolin clay over the plants at the 8th day, which could represent a saving of 18,000 gal/acre.