Leaf area is evaluated as leaf area index (LAI), the ratio of leaf to ground area, and is known to be crucial to understanding forests and high-quality fruit production in orchards. Nondestructive tools have been available for decades that pair hemispherical photography with gap fraction theories to understand LAI. Those tools do not allow for rapid assessment in the field, and there is no standardized protocol to acquire accurate estimates yet. This experiment has developed an optimized method with the CID Plant Canopy Imager (CI-110) in a high-density apple orchard. This novel tool for LAI estimation allows image acquisition and processing in real time in the field. LAI assessments of hemispherical images were taken under five light environments, at three imaging heights, processed with two thresholding methods, and were compared with destructive LAI values for accuracy. The difference between estimated and destructive LAI (∆LAI) was determined for trees on an individual or grouped by a three tree basis. Estimations for triplet groupings were more accurate, and the significantly lower ∆LAI in each treatment occurred for the no-net environment, 10 cm from the ground and processed with the Otsu threshold. When combined as triplet groupings, this methodology sequence yielded an LAI estimation with a 13% prediction error (∆LAI = 0.19). The use of the CI-110 with this methodology can give useful, real-time information regarding orchard canopies to address pruning and training decisions for high-quality fruit production.
This research was funded by the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission with project number # AP14-103A and WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Agreement Number: K1767.Mention of a proprietary product or vendor does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by Washington State University and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products or vendors that also may be suitable.
These authors contributed equally to this work and are co-authors.
JonckheereI.FleckS.NackaertsK.MuysB.CoppinP.WeissM.BaretF.2004Review of methods for in situ leaf area index determination Part I: Theories, sensors and hemispherical photographyAgr. For. Meteorol.1211935
Jonckheere,I.Fleck,S.Nackaerts,K.Muys,B.Coppin,P.Weiss,M.Baret,F.2004Review of methods for in situ leaf area index determination Part I: Theories, sensors and hemispherical photography1211935)| false
MusacchiS.GreenD.2017Innovations in apple tree cultivation to manage crop load and ripening p. 195–237. In: K. Evans (ed.). Achieving sustainable cultivation of apples. Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Cambridge UK
NormanJ.M.CampbellG.S.1989Canopy structure p. 301–325. In: R.W. Pearcy J. Ehlringer H.A. Mooney and P.W. Rundel (eds.). Plant ecology: Field methods and instrumentation. Chapman & Hall London UK
Poblete-EcheverríaC.FuentesS.Ortega-FariasS.Gonzalez-TaliceJ.YuriJ.A.2015Digital cover photography for estimating leaf area index (LAI) in apple trees using a variable light extinction coefficientAgr. For.: Sensors Technologies Procedures1528602872
Poblete-Echeverría,C.Fuentes,S.Ortega-Farias,S.Gonzalez-Talice,J.Yuri,J.A.2015Digital cover photography for estimating leaf area index (LAI) in apple trees using a variable light extinction coefficient1528602872)| false
WoodgateW.Soto-BerelovM.SuarezL.JonesS.HillM.WilkesP.AxelssonC.HaywoodA.MellorA.2012Searching for the optimal sampling design for measuring LAI in an upland rainforest. Proc. 2012 Geospatial Sci. Res. Symp. GSR2
WünscheJ.N.LaksoA.N.RobinsonT.L.1995Comparison of four methods for estimating total light interception by apple trees of varying formsHortScience30272276
Wünsche,J.N.Lakso,A.N.Robinson,T.L.1995Comparison of four methods for estimating total light interception by apple trees of varying forms30272276)| false