Best of the best—how to optimize nursery BMP techniques

Juanita Popenoe, Matt Lollar, Liz Felter

Abstract


The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services requires growers to implement and maintain verified Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Nutrient Management, Irrigation Management, and Water Resource Protection. These practices are intended to improve water quality while maintaining agricultural production. An obstacle for many growers to fulfilling these requirements is an understanding of the tools and techniques required to implement the most important practices of measuring media electrical conductivity (EC) and pH, and measuring and adjusting irrigation uniformity. Management tools were evaluated including Electrical Conductivity (EC) Meters, pH meters, and irrigation uniformity. The EC Meters were evaluated using the pour-through method, the 2:1 extract method, and the substrate-paste method. Soil pH was measured with soil probes and solution probes from various manufacturers and results compared. Catch cup methods to assess irrigation uniformity and distribution were compared. Complying with state mandated programs is a daunting task for the high-energy nursery production industry. The results of this thorough investigation of which tools and implementations work best will allow more growers to feel confident in implementing BMPs.


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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283