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Garden with Insight v1.0 Help: leaf area index

Leaf area index (LAI) is ratio of the total area of all leaves on a plant to the area of ground covered by the plant. This means that if a plant had only one layer of leaves all placed next to each other, it would have a leaf area index of exactly 1.0, because the leaf area would equal the ground area covered. For most plants leaf area index increases with age (up to the beginning of senescence) and reaches a maximum of 2.0 to 5.0.

Plants seen from the top and their leaf area indexes

In this simulation leaf area index is an important quantity that influences the photosynthesis and growth of the plant. Leaf area index increases up to some point when it begins to decline because of the combined decreased photosynthetic efficiency of individual leaves (which is not simulated separately). The time of decline (as a heat unit index) and the rate of decline are parameters.

How it works:
leaf area index
heat unit index

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Updated: May 4, 1998. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.