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Subsurface Drip Irrigation of Leaf Lettuce and Broccoli I: Spatiel Distribution of Roots and Soil Water TensionThe objectives of this research were i) to observe the movement of the wetting front in subsurface drip irrigated lettuce and broccoli, 2) to analyze variability in soil water tension (SWT) within the profile, and 3) to determine root distributions of subsurface drip irrigated lettuce and broccoli. Lettuce and broccoli plots at the Maricopa Agricultural Center during the 1992-93 and 1993-94 winter growing seasons were intensively instrumented with automated tensiometers. During both seasons, there was good agreement between mean daily SWT, and SWT measured before irrigation. During 1992-93, the maximum variation in mean SWT among tensiometers was 2.5 kPa. Among tensiometers within the zone of greatest root density, the maximum variation was only 1.5 kPa. Therefore, the range of SWT within the lettuce root zone was small, and tensiometer placement anywhere within the root zone would have been adequate. During 1993-94, the maximum variation in mean SWT among tensiometers was 7 kPa. The maximum variation among tensiometers within the zone of greatest root density was 5.3 kPa. The larger variation in mean SWT among tensiometers, compared to lettuce, is due to the greater water use of broccoli. Tensiometer placement will be more critical for higher water use crops. During both seasons roots proliferated around the drip tubing. These results substantiate the assumption that tensiometer placement anywhere within the zone of greatest root density will be adequate for irrigation scheduling of subsurface drip irrigated crops.
Subsurface Drip Irrigation of Leaf Lettuce and Broccoli II: Water BalanceThe objective of this research was to estimate a season -long water balance under one subsurface trickle- irrigated plot each of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. Waldmann's Green) and broccoli (Brassica olearacea L. var. Claudia). One lettuce plot during 1992-93 and one broccoli plot during 1993-94 were intensively instrumented with automated tensiometers. Tensiometer readings and estimates of evapotranspiration were used to estimate seasonal water contents in the crop root zone, and water losses due to leaching. For the monitored portion of the 1992-3 growing season, 19.1 an of irrigation water was applied, 12.5 cm of rainfall fell, and ET, was 11.5 cm. Estimated deep percolation was 60% of total water applied (irrigation plus rainfall). Leaching was periodic, and was mostly associated with rainfall events. During the monitored portion of the 19934 season, 21.2 cm of irrigation water were applied, 8.0 an of rainfall fell, and ET, was 21.9 cm. Estimated deep percolation was 28% of total water applied. Almost all of this leaching was associated with one major rainfall event. Water stored in the root zone (top 50 cm) was relatively constant at 12-14 cm water/50 cm soil except after rainfall.