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American Fruit Grower: (FloraPulse) Delivers Big Opportunity for Fruit and Nut Growers

Reading plant stress can be a difficult endeavor, especially for nuts or wine grapes, where deficit irrigation is desirable near harvest. Currently, pressure chambers are the most common way to measure plant stress.

“It’s a big heavy instrument. You cut a leaf off and you stick it in the chamber, and you have to increase the pressure,” Alan Lakso, Emeritus Fruit Crop Physiologist with Cornell University, says. “It’s a slow, manual process, and then you get a reading of what the stress is that one moment that you took the leaf off.”

It’s accurate, but Lakso likens the pressure chamber’s reading to the stock market at 2 p.m. on a Friday. You’re getting information on a very dynamic system, and only at a fleeting moment in time. He wanted something that could give growers up-to-the minute readings of a plant’s water status.

This is where a promising new technology in the form of a microsensor comes in.

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