Plant tissue testing (Part 1) — Best sampling practices

By Greg LaBarge

Plant tissue testing is a valuable nutrient management tool. We often use it to identify if off-colored plants have a nutrient deficiency. Another place tissue testing fits into management is to evaluate our fertility program. This use can help identify any hidden deficiencies that could limit yield. Combining soil testing, which predicts the soil’s available nutrients and fertilizer needs, with tissue testing, which measures plant uptake, is a robust data set to make nutrient decisions. Tissue testing also fills a gap in nutrient management, where soil testing is unreliable for determining sulfur and micronutrient needs. If you use plant tissue testing, use these best sampling practices.

Collect the appropriate growth stage and plant part to compare to established sufficiency standards. To know if your test result is “good” or “bad,” you must compare your result to a standard that includes the yield response at the end of the season.… Continue reading