Leaf Positions of Potato Suitable for Determination of Nitrogen Content with a SPAD Meter
Plant Production Science
Hand-held SPAD meter can be used to evaluate the leaf nitrogen status of potato. For practical use, it is necessary to select a proper compound leaf, a proper leaflet within compound leaf and position of leaflet suitable for measurement. Therefore, field experiments were conducted in northern China in 2009 and 2010. The SPAD values, plant growth, N uptake of potato plants at tuber initiation and tuber bulking stages under different N supply levels, and final tuber yields were examined. The
... examined. The criteria for determining the most suitable leaf, leaflet and position within a leaflet are that the SPAD values show less variation at a given N supply level, and show a more sensitive response to different nitrogen levels. Our results showed that the coefficients of variance of SPAD values ranged from 8.7 to 25.9% with a leaf N concentration range of 2.1 to 3.8 gN 100 g -1 at tuber initiation stage, and 7.2 to 21.6% with leaf N concentration range of 0.96 to 1.26 gN 100 g -1 at the tuber bulking stage. The SPAD values of the 4th compound leaf from apex were more stable and more sensitive to the nitrogen level than those of other leaves, suggesting that the 4th compound leaf is suitable for estimating the leaf N status using a SPAD meter. Within a compound leaf, the SPAD value of the top leaflet was more sensitive than the other leaflets to nitrogen supply, whereas it was less stable, making it difficult to chose the leaflet for measurement. However, the top leaflet emerges and expands much earlier than the side leaflets, and should be better for SPAD value measurement. The SPAD measurements at the top point of the top leaflet of the 4th leaf demonstrated both less variation and higher sensitivity to nitrogen supply. Therefore, we conclude that the top point of the top leaflet of the 4th compound leaf is the best position for potato N status diagnosis using a SPAD meter.