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Production Objectives

In-line irrigation volume measurement for each of the ten species being monitored at Willoway.

A precision irrigation experiment has been underway at Willoway Nurseries for the past two years.  Dr. Bauerle from Colorado State University and his team use double-blind water applications to remotely apply irrigation.

The primary objectives of this study are to estimate the daily water use of ten tree species using models, and then to precisely apply irrigation water to replace the water used, to optimize the growth of each of these species.

Specifically, Dr. Bauerle uses species-specific process models to calculate irrigation requirements for Tilia and Acer sp. Twice daily Dr. Bauerle accesses on site weather station data from Colorado, performs model calculations, and makes cyclic (10 am and 2 pm) irrigation recommendations via e-mail. A research assistant at the nursery then applies the prescribed irrigation independent of the control.

Tree growth and water use is monitored and logged over time for both the model-irrigated trees as well as blocks which are independently irrigated with no knowledge of the model predictions.