Date of this Version
Greenhouse Grower, August 2012, pp. 78-84.
THIRTY years ago, capillary mats were used for production of floricultural pot crops like Easter lilies. The advantage was that plants could be grown practically pot-la-pot, thus maximizing plants per square foot. Also, since Easler lilies grow best when fertigated with tempered water delivered on a uniform schedule, the capillary mat was ideal.
During the 1990s, capillary mats for growing plants fell out of favor as a fcrti gatian method when compared to drip irrigation and other sub-irrigation methods. However, recent advances in electronic controls, mat composition and the use of a drip tape to deliver water directly to the mat at even locations, make cap-mat watering worthy of another look. Combine this with concerns about groundwater contamination, quantity, quality and costs associatcd with water usage, cap mats and their low-water requirements will certainly come back into the greenhouse growing picture.