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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Response of Tall Fescue to Saline Water as Influenced by Leaching Fractions and Irrigation Uniformity Distributions


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 91 No. 3, p. 409-416
    Received: Mar 9, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): dev50@nye.nscee.edu
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  1. Algirdas M. Leskys,
  2. Dale A. Devitt ,
  3. Linda S. Verchick and
  4. Robert L. Morris
  1. Coop. Ext., Univ. of Nevada-Reno, 2345 Red Rock St., Suite 100, Las Vegas, NV 89102-3156,



The use of poor quality water for irrigation purposes in the urban landscape has the potential to save significant quantities of good quality water for higher priority uses. Research was conducted to determine the impact leaching fractions (LF = drainage volume/irrigation volume) and irrigation-uniformity distributions have on the spatial distribution of water and salts and plant response when irrigating with saline water. Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb. ‘Monarch’) was grown in 18 plots, each with a centrally located lysimeter that enabled estimates of evapotranspiration and irrigation requirements. Imposed treatments included setting LF at 0.05, 0.15, or 0.25 and manipulating plot irrigation systems such that the Christiansen uniformity coefficient (CUC) was set at 0.65, 0.75, or 0.85. Saline irrigation water (2.5 dS m−1) was applied for an 18-mo period. Significant LF × CUC interactions were observed for depth-weighted soil salinity, yield, evapotranspiration (ET), tissue moisture content, and canopy temperatures. Although the coefficient of variation increased with each measured parameter as the CUC decreased, only the depth-weighted electrical conductivity (ECc) showed a coefficient of variation > 20%. A 14% savings in irrigation water was obtained when the high CUC, low LF treatment was compared with the high LF, low CUC treatment. Ninety-one percent of the variability in the average plot ECc could be accounted for if the actual LF, lysimeter ET, and average plot canopy temperatures at the end of the experiment were taken into consideration. Under the conditions of this experiment, irrigating tall fescue with 2.5 dS m−1 water would be an acceptable practice even at LFs as low as 0.05 if the CUC is optimized.

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