A Minolta SPAD-502 leaf chlorophyll meter was used for nondestructive data collection on the chlorophyll and nitrogen (N) status of benjamin fig (Ficus benjamina) and cottonwood (Populus deltoides) to quantitatively evaluate foliage quality. The goal was to provide a specific calibration for interpreting SPAD data within a media study for each species. Triplicate SPAD readings were collected from each of six leaves, sampled from forty plants per species, then processed for foliar analysis. Leaf tissue disks were also collected directly over SPAD testing sites for chlorophyll concentration measurement. Significant linear correlations were found between SPAD data and chlorophyll concentrations (r2 = 0.90 in benjamin fig and r2 = 0.91 for cottonwood). A significant, but lower correlation was found between SPAD data and N concentration. The SPAD-N correlations improved from the fifth month to the ninth month harvest (r2 = 0.32 to 0.53 for benjamin fig and 0.26 to 0.42 for cottonwood). The SPAD-502 could be useful for in landscape plant management, and in time for production situations, but baseline data is needed. Consistent protocol in sample collection and seasonal timing is needed prior to use as a predictor for tissue N levels. Development of species, and perhaps cultivar, specific baseline data and sampling procedures will need development, but could yield a rapid, quantitative, in expensive field diagnostic for foliage quality for making cultural management decisions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ficus benjamina
- Light transmittance
- Populus deltoides