Origanum Vulgare Drip Irrigation and Fertilization
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Alicia San Martin
Posted on: January 20, 2008

I would be grateful if you can inform where we can find information about the subject. We are producing 40 hectares in a desert zone in Argentina and we are planning to install drip irrigation.

There is little readily available information on drip irrigation and fertilization of oregano. The state of the art in commercial production of oregano using these techniques probably has not been published. It becomes necessary to piece together bits of information which can serve as a starting point for your own trials.

In the Mediterranean region where oregano is both cultivated and gathered from the wild, the climate is generally hot and dry in the summers. During crop establishment in the first year irrigation is required, but in subsequent years winter rain is usually sufficient to get a single cutting in summer. But to get a second cutting in autumn, irrigation is required after the first cut. Spring irrigation is only required if the winter rains are inadequate. A typical fertilization regime is apply 100 kg/ha of P2O5 and 100 kg/ha of K2O, although many small growers reportedly never apply fertilizer to oregano.

Eli Putievsky and his group at the Agricultural Research Organization in Israel have done work on oregano crop improvement and management. They published a report "Irrigation of oregano" in 1984 (Sanderovich, D., E. Putievsky, N. Dudai and E. Zuabi. 1984. Irrigation of oregano. Hassadeh 64:1334-1336), but the report is in Hebrew so I have not seen it. Putievsky’s student, Sandervich, completed a thesis on oregano irrigation which may provide some additional useful information. Putievsky and his coworkers have also published on oregano fertilization (Putievsky, E., N. Dudai, U. Ravid, Y. Michaelovich, E. Zuabi, D. Saadi and A. Shahar. 1990. Herbs fertilization (oregano). Hassadeh 70:708-710 [in Hebrew].) Eli Putrievsky can be reached through his web page (http://www.agri.gov.il/People/EliPutievsky.html).

Demetrios Droushiotis of the Agricultural Research Institute in Nicosia, Cyprus, is also working on oregano crop management and has done some irrigation trials on a related species, Origanum dubium. As far as I know, the results of these studies have not been published yet, but you can contact him by email for further information (droushia@arinet.ari.gov.cy).

In a study at the University of Florida, Csizinszky looked at the effects of various levels of fertilization in drip irrigation of sweet marjoram, Origanum majorana (http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=15073895 ). However little can be concluded from the inconsistent results of that two year study. The fertilization levels in that trial were 0.68-2.2 kg/ha nitrogen per day and 0.74-1.8 kg/ha potassium per day in a "polyethylene mulch-micro-(trickle)-irrigation system." Phosphorus was applied pre-plant at 21.3 kg/ha.

Previously, a question was asked about the crop coefficients for oregano used to estimate the water requirements of the crop. These numbers are unknown or unpublished for oregano. See:


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