Capillary mat irrigation is used in the nursery industry and as a teaching/research tool in SAFS.  While water moves upwards, there is potential due to gravity and diffusion for water to move downwards and out of the pot (leachate). The characteristics of this leakage is unknown.


To measure nutrient content of leachate and its interaction with irrigation type (open and closed), media type (sand and coir), and plant species (sunflower, sorghum, no plant).
Activities: You will become familiar with pot watering systems, contribute to project detail, set up capillary mat and a closed irrigation system, prepare pots, germinate seeds and plant and look after their irrigation needs, collect weekly water samples, run an auto-analyser in the measurement of solution nitrogen.


Establishing which nutrients are leached, their relative quantities and comparison with soil solution concentrations in the pot, how these attributes are influenced by irrigation type, media type and plant species. An introduction to relevant model development on potential leakage.

Project members

Dr Malcolm Hunter

Honorary Senior Fellow
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Dr Brigid McKenna

Senior Technical Officer
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences