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Effects of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium on SPAD-502 and atLEAF sensor readings of Salvia

Dunn, Bruce L., Singh, Hardeep, Payton, Mark, Kincheloe, Sean
Journal of plant nutrition 2018 v.41 no.13 pp. 1674-1683
Salvia, canopy, chlorophyll, fertilizers, leaves, markets, nitrogen, nutrients, phosphorus, potassium
There are various optical sensors in the market for precision nitrogen (N) management, which estimate leaf N status from chlorophyll content of leaves. However, readings may also be affected by the amounts of other nutrients in the plant leaves like potassium (K) and phosphorus (P), as well as sampling location within a plant or leaf. SPAD-502 and atLEAF optical sensors were used on Salvia ‘Vista Red’ plants grown with 0N-7.9P-0K, 41N-0P-0K, 0N-0P-31.6K, 0N-7.9P-0K + 41N-0P-0K, 0N-7.9P-0K + 0N-0P-31.6K, 41N-0P-0K + 0N-0P-31.6K, or 0N-7.9P-0K + 41N-0P-0K + 0N-0P-31.6K fertilizer plus a control. Both sensors were correlated with leaf N and each other. However, both sensor readings were affected by the presence or absence of P and K in the leaves, and thus these nutrients should be analyzed and reported along with leaf N values. Sensor readings were found to vary within a leaf and within leaf canopy location, so sampling needs to be consistent.