Leaf surface area: why and how to measure?

A scientist who studies plants repeatedly faced with a need to measure leaf surface area. The most difficult task is to define complex leaves. The hidden problem of this task is related to the complicated contour of these leaves. Hence, the question is about why do we need to struggle so much and measure leaf area?

What is the problem of leaf surface area measurement?

In fact, the generally accepted scientific methods are not effective. For example, contour method, weighting method as well as cutting method – any of them has the greatest error.

To illustrate the correctness of measurements and to reduce the value of the error, it is necessary to increase the number of repetitions of measurements, which in turn contributes a lot of time.

Specific areas of knowledge where leaf area has the highest value

In a word, definition of leaf area is needed for agronomists, breeders, biologists, ecologists.

For example, knowledge of leaf apparatus is necessary for numerous calculations in agronomy. The most important of them are linked to the determination of:

  • Photosynthetic capacity of crops (FPP)
  • Transpiration of plants (for setting irrigation standards)
  • Photosynthetic pigments in cells of leaves
  • Defeat leaves plant diseases and pests, calculation of economic damage threshold force (or EPSH)
  • Performance vegetative mass of plants

In the breeding work for determining the impact of varietal characteristics on:

  • Forming leaf apparatus
  • Resistance to diseases and pests lesions

Simultaneously, in ecology leaf area measurement will be helpful for:

  • Determining the impact of environmental conditions on the formation of plants
  • Defining the populations of insects and microorganisms that affects plants
leaf area measurement for Robinia pseudoacacia
Examples of leaf surface area measurement for 10 leaves of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

How to make leaf area measurement? This is definitely a separate question. The topic of effective leaf area estimation is in the focus of many researchers and practitioners. Hence, we have also written a couple of thoughts on this. Please, follow this link for more details. Or if you would like to try mobile application for leaf area measurement, then Petiole Pro will be helpful.

In any event, leaf is a mirror of the plant’s health. And leaf area is one of the key parameters of tracking the plant’s growth. As a result, the more data you’ll get about the leaf – the better quality of information you’ll get.

Maryna Kuzmenko

Building Petiole Pro to help agronomists, farmers, crop producers solve vision – one tool to save time & money.

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