Comparison of Four Methods for Estimating Total Light Interception by Apple Trees of Varying Forms

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  • 1 Institut für Obstbau und Gemüsebau, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 6, 53121 Bonn, Germany
  • 2 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, NY 14456

Four methods of estimating daily light interception (fisheye photography with image analysis, multiple-light sensors, ceptometer, and point grid) were compared using various apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) tree forms: slender spindle, Y- and T-trellises, and vertical palmette. Interactions of tree form, time of day, and atmospheric conditions with light interception estimates were examined. All methods were highly correlated to each other (r2 > 0.92) for estimated daily mean percent total light interception by the various tree forms, except that the point grid method values were slightly lower. Interactions were found among tree form, time of day, and diffuse/direct radiation balance on estimated light interception, suggesting that several readings over the day are needed under clear skies, especially in upright canopies. The similar results obtained by using the point grid method (counting shaded/exposed points on a grid under the canopy) on clear days may allow rapid, simple, and inexpensive estimates of orchard light interception.

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