Gerardo (Gerry) Spinelli
Production Horticulture Advisor for San Diego County
Nursery and ornamental production in San Diego county is intensive with almost daily application of water and nutrients. District irrigation water in San Diego County is expensive and groundwater often presents low quality (high salinity). Certain plants require specific irrigation patterns (for example cacti and succulents) and over-irrigation can lead to root disease. An inefficient irrigation system not only wastes water, but also produces runoff that is one of the main concerns of water quality regulators. These constraints are important challenges for growers and irrigation management and water quality compliance is one of the top issues. Good irrigation technology is important, but correct management is even more. Reliance on trained personnel to operate the irrigation system is one of the top concerns for growers.
The Nursery and Floriculture Research and Extension Program with the UCCE of San Diego focuses on field trainings in Spanish to educate irrigators, field trials to measure irrigation system distribution uniformity, and outreach to disseminate management practices to improve water quality.