Plant and Soil

, Volume 259, Issue 1–2, pp 287–295 | Cite as

Floral analysis as a tool to diagnose iron chlorosis in orange trees

  • Maribela Pestana
  • Amarilis de Varennes
  • Michael J. Goss
  • Javier Abadía
  • Eugénio Araújo Faria


A three-year field experiment was conducted in a commercial orange grove [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb. cv. `Valencia late' grafted on Citrange Troyer] established on a calcareous soil in the south of Portugal, to investigate if flower analysis could be used to diagnose lime-induced iron chlorosis. In April, during full bloom, flowers and leaves were collected from 20 trees. Leaf samples were again collected from the same trees in May, June, July and August. Total chlorophyll was estimated in all the leaves sampled for foliar analysis, using a SPAD-502 apparatus. Leaves and flowers were analysed for N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Mn and Cu. Principal Component Analysis was used to evaluate the variation of nutrient concentrations in flowers, and linear regressions were established between these and the chlorophyll content of leaves 90 days after full bloom. Evaluation of the best-fit equation was carried out using separate data obtained from other groves. Variation in the pattern of floral mineral composition in the flowers showed contrasts between the increase in N, P and K and that of Ca, Fe and Zn, while the concentration of Mg, Mn and Ca varied synchronously. The ratio of Mg:Zn in flowers explained about half of the variation of chlorophyll in leaves later in the season. A ratio below 100 indicated that trees would develop iron chlorosis, while with a ratio above 200 leaves would remain green. An early prognosis of iron chlorosis based on floral analysis can benefit growers, since it allows them to apply treatments in time to prevent loss of fruit yield and quality due to iron chlorosis.

Citrus floral analysis iron chlorosis lime-induced chlorosis SPAD 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maribela Pestana
    • 1
  • Amarilis de Varennes
    • 2
  • Michael J. Goss
    • 3
  • Javier Abadía
    • 4
  • Eugénio Araújo Faria
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculdade de Engenharia de Recursos NaturaisUniversidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Departamento de Química Agrícola e AmbientalTapada da AjudaLisboaPortugal
  3. 3.Centre for Land and Water Stewardship, Richards BuildingUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  4. 4.Departamento de Nutrición Vegetal, Estación Experimental de Aula DeiConsejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasZaragozaEspaña

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