Petiole Sap Nitrate Tests for Determining Nitrogen Status of Broccoli and Cauliflower
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AbstractNitrogen (N) status of vegetable crops is often monitored by analysis of dried plant tissues. However, dry tissue analysis often causes a significant delay between sampling and analysis. This study was conducted to examine the accuracy of a portable nitrate meter for determining petiole sap nitrate (NO₃) concentrations in broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. Italica group cv. Claudia) and cauliflower ( Brassica oleracea L. Botrytis group, cv. 'Candid Charm'). The relationship between NO₃-N concentration in fresh petiole sap and in dried petiole tissue was Studied for these crops in southern Arizona during the 1993-94 and 1994-95 winter growing seasons. Experiments were factorial combinations of 3 irrigation rates and 4 N rates, both ranging from deficient to excessive. Petioles were sampled throughout each season, and were split for sap and dry tissue analysis. A linear correlation was obtained between the two measurements in both seasons, with no consistent effect due to irrigation treatment or crop maturity. The regression coefficients did not differ among seasons. Regression equations were derived to convert petiole sap nitrate concentrations to dry tissue nitrate concentrations. These equations can be used to relate sap test measurements to existing guidelines for NO₃-N concentrations in broccoli and caulker petioles. These results suggest that the quick sap test, using the portable nitrate ion meter, is a valuable technique for monitoring N status of broccoli and cauliflower.