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Youngsuk Lee, Hun Joong Kweon, Moo-Yong Park and Dongyong Lee

Nutrient content assessment of plant tissues is widely performed by farmers to determine the appropriate amount of fertilization to use for their crops. A nondestructive leaf chlorophyll meter is one of the most commonly used devices for performing field assessments of the nutrient status of leaves. However, it is challenging to use a chlorophyll meter to assess the nutritional status of perennial plants, such as the apple (Malus ×domestica) tree, because of the difficulty estimating nitrogen (N) during the entire growing period. We compared the chlorophyll meter readings with leaf nutrient profiles collected from young ‘Arisoo’/M.9 apple trees throughout the growing period. A significant positive correlation between the chlorophyll meter readings and leaf N content was found from May to August during the midseason. Regression analysis indicated that the best sampling time for predicting the foliar N content of apple tress is from late June to late July. This result suggests that a reliable leaf N assessment can be performed in a rapid, nondestructive way in apple orchards.