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  • Author or Editor: E.M. Perry x
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Blackleaf (a.k.a. chocolate leaf) is of worldwide concern in Vitis due to its negative impact on fruit ripening, yield reduction and overall stress on grapevines. Research suggests blackleaf is induced by high levels of UV radiation and overall light intensity, which induce color changes (purple-brown-black) in exposed leaves, resulting in >50% reduction in photosynthesis. The ability to detect blackleaf symptoms before expression can provide insight into metabolic stresses and the possibility of the use and/or timing of management practices to reduce its impact. Remotely sensed imagery and spatial analysis may elucidate reflectance-related processes and symptoms not apparent to the un-aided eye. In this research we mapped canopy growth (leaves/shoot and shoots/vine), metabolic triggers (photosynthesis, leaf water potential, soil moisture), and percent blackleaf expression within vineyards using global positioning system (GPS), infrared gas analyzer, and digital remotely-sensed images. Each image and data record was stored as an attribute associated with specific vine location within a geographical information system (GIS). Spatial maps were created from the GIS coverages to graphically present the progression of blackleaf across vineyards throughout the season. Analysis included summary statistics such as minimum, maximum, and variation of green reflectance, within a vineyard by image capture date. Additionally, geostatistics were used to model the degree of similarity between blackleaf values as a function of their spatial location. Continuing research will be aimed at identifying spectral characteristics of early season stresses due to UV light, water stress, and reduced photosynthetic capacity. Spatial relationships between early season stress and later blackleaf expression will be assessed using joint spatial dependence measures. Overall, information obtained through digital image and spatial analysis will supplement site level information for growers.

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Research suggests that blackleaf (a leaf disorder in grape, Vitis labrusca L.) is induced by high levels of ultra violet (UV) radiation and overall light intensity, resulting in color changes (purple-brown-black) for sun-exposed leaves of the outer canopy, and a corresponding >50% reduction in photosynthesis. Metabolic indicators (photosynthesis and leaf water potential), percent blackleaf expression, and full spectrum leaf reflectance were mapped within vineyards using global positioning system (GPS) and digital remotely-sensed images. Each image and data record was stored as an attribute associated with a specific vine location within a geographical information system (GIS). Spatial maps were created from the GIS coverages to graphically present the progression of blackleaf across vineyards throughout the season. Analysis included summary statistics such as minimum, maximum, and variation of green reflectance, within a vineyard by image capture date. Additionally, geostatistics were used to model the degree of similarity between blackleaf values as a function of their spatial location. Remote-image analysis indicated a decrease in percent greenness of about 45% between July and August, which was related to a decrease in photosynthesis and an increase in blackleaf symptom expression within the canopy. Examination of full spectral leaf reflectance indicated differences at specific wavelengths for grape leaves exposed to UV or water-deficit stress. This work suggests that remote-image and leaf spectral reflectance analysis may be a strong tool for monitoring changes in metabolism associated with plant stress.

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The ability to monitor plant nutrient status of high value horticultural crops and to adjust seasonal nutrient supply via fertilizer application has economic and environmental benefits. Recent technological advances may enable growers and field consultants to conduct this type of monitoring nondestructively in the future. Using the perennial crop apple (Malus domestica) and the annual crop potato (Solanum tuberosum), a hand-held leaf reflectance meter was used to evaluate leaf nitrogen (N) status throughout the growing season. In potato, this meter showed good correlation with leaf blade N content. Both time of day and time of season influenced leaf meter measurement, but leaf position did not. In apple, three different leaf meters were compared: the leaf spectral reflectance meter and two leaf greenness meters. Correlation with both N rate and leaf N content were strongest for the leaf reflectance meter early in the season but nonsignificant late in the season, whereas the leaf greenness meters gave weak but significant correlations throughout the growing season. The tapering off of leaf reflectance values found with the hand-held meter is consistent with normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) values calculated from satellite images from the same plots. Overall, the use of leaf spectral reflectance shows promise as a tool for nondestructive monitoring of plant leaf status and would enable multiple georeferenced measurements throughout a field for differential N management.

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