Monitoring and Testing
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What decision should be influenced by the results of an alkalinity test of a given water source?
which chemicals may or may not be compatible with your water
Alkalinity alone would not be sufficient to make this decision. However, water that is high in alkalinity usually has high pH, and high water pH can reduce the solubility of some horticultural chemicals, e.g. fertilizers, pesticides, and plant growth regulators.
whether or not a wetting agent is necessary in your media
The need for a wetting agent is necessitated by the components of the substrate, e.g. dry peat can be difficult to wet without a wetting agent.
choosing which form of nitrogen to select in your fertilization program
determining if you should grow varieties of plants that are sensitive to heavy metals
Alkalinity itself does not affect the availability of heavy metals; the resultant pH of the media affects the availability of some of these nutrients.
Question 1 Explanation:
Water's alkalinity will affect the media pH and, thus, one must select a nitrogen source that will maintain optimal media pH. Ammonium and urea-based fertilizers tend to be acidic, and nitrate fertilizers tend to be basic.
You have a tensiometer with a reading of - 3 centibars. What should you do next?
stop all planting
Planting should have stopped well before the soil reached saturation!
begin a fertilization cycle
Fertilization should be based on a soil test and/or foliar analysis.
stop all irrigation
begin an irrigation cycle
The soil is nearly saturated. Do not irrigate until it reaches -40 to -60 centibars.
Question 2 Explanation:
Zero or very close to zero indicates that the soil is completely saturated; all pore spaces are filled with water.
You are using a soilless media mixture to transplant seedlings that require a neutral pH. Which of the following would be an acceptable pH range?
7.8 – 8.2
This substrate is basic.
5.8 – 6.2
This substrate is acidic.
4.8 – 5.2
This substrate is very acidic.
6.8 – 7.2
Question 3 Explanation:
A pH of 7.0 is neutral. This substrate is within an acceptable range of neutral.
An electronic weather station has recorded temperature and calculated degree-days. Why are degree-days frequently more useful than just specific temperature readings?
Degree-day calculations also account for the fluctuating humidity levels to predict irrigation needs.
Humidity is not included in degree-days.
Degree-day calculations include the accumulated response of light intensity and temperature.
Light intensity is not included in degree-days.
Degree-days measure accumulated heat over time which more accurately predicts plant and insect growth.
Degree-days will provide the data to determine whether pesticide control is warranted.
Economic threshold will determine whether pesticide control is warranted.
Question 4 Explanation:
Plant and insect growth and maturation are closely tied to temperature, thus calculating degree-days can help one determine when a plant or insect will reach a given life stage.
An extension educator has recommended raising the pH of your planting beds after reviewing your most recent soil test. Which amendment will help increase the pH of your soil?
Finely ground sulfur will slowly lower the pH 0.5-1 unit when applied at 1/2 lb. per 100 sq.ft. of garden.
Although elemental copper will not affect the pH of the soil, copper sulfate (CuSO4.H2O) is soluble and acidic.
Iron sulfate will rapidly lower the pH 0.5-1 unit when applied at 3 lbs. per 100 sq.ft. of garden.
Question 5 Explanation:
Horticultural lime (CaCO3) or dolomitic lime (CaCO3 + MgCO3) will raise the pH 0.5-1 unit when applied at 5 lbs. per 100 sq.ft. of garden.
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