Irrigating ornamental horticultural plants and crops with saline and alternative water sources

Genhua Niu, Raul I. Cabrera

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Water shortages and poor water quality are critical issues in many regions of the world. With a rapidly increasing population and diminishing water supplies, the competition for fresh water among agriculture, industry, urban and recreational users has become intense. Use of alternative water sources, such as municipal reclaimed water and other poor-quality, non-potable saline waters, for irrigating horticultural crops and urban landscapes may be inevitable in the 21st century. The major concern of using these alternative water sources is their elevated salinity, which causes injury to tissues, growth or yield reductions on sensitive plants, and also causes salt accumulation in root zones if irrigation is not managed properly. Many horticultural commodities are high-value crops and are traditionally irrigated with high quality water. Recent research results have shown promising results on irrigating a variety of ornamental horticultural plants and crops with saline water at moderate salinity levels with little negative effects on plant growth and quality. This chapter presents and reviews the latest research results on salt tolerance for a number of ornamental horticultural species. Salinity tolerance of these plants varied widely with species, environmental conditions, substrate or soil type, and irrigation management. Tolerant plants are able to resist salt stress by limiting or reducing uptake of sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-) ions, confining these ions in roots or reducing transport of the ions accumulated in roots to shoots, selective ion uptake, and tolerating high osmotic stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOrnamental Plants
Subtitle of host publicationTypes, Cultivation and Nutrition
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781617617362
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


  • Chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Landscape irrigation
  • Photosynthesis
  • Salinity tolerance
  • Stomatal conductance
  • Water reuse

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