Soil testing and tissue sampling are key to developing the optimal crop nutrition program. If you don’t know what nutrients your soil contains, and you don’t know how plants are or aren’t absorbing them, then how do you know if you’re providing the right nutrients? Soil testing and tissue sampling take the guesswork out of this process. Let us review your soil test analysis with you to help develop the right crop nutrition plan for your operation.
Soil testing is the first step in determining the optimal nutrition program. A soil test can tell you a lot about the soil conditions at your orchard , including nutrient levels, pH, base saturations, organic matter, and cation-exchange capacity (CEC). All of these factors play a role in how your plants absorb water and nutrients, whether those nutrients are usable in the soil, and the biological activity determining the soil health.
A soil test can answer a lot of questions you may have about your fruit, nut, or vine crops. In trees or vines, nutrient deficiencies will cause leaves to be discolored around the margins. New growth and buds will lessen as the tree struggles to distribute inadequate nutrition. In some cases, such as calcium deficiency in apples, fruit will appear deformed or discolored. A soil analysis can tell you what your fruit trees are missing. With this information, you can correct the problem and stop it from happening again. A soil test can also tell you what nutrients or additives can help you increase yield. For example, low levels of some micronutrients can decrease utilization of other macronutrients. The crops will still be productive, but not as productive as they could be.
Benefits Soil Testing
- Reveal nutrient deficiencies causing stunted growth
- Show soil pH and impacts on nutrient profiles
- Show biological activity and the impact on nutrient retention
- Show CEC, soil quality, and possible improvements
- Show ways to increase yield
How do I gather a sample for a soil test?
Gathering samples for soil testing isn’t complicated, but it must be done with care. This ensures your soil test accurately represents the area you’re testing.
Follow these instructions to get the most accurate soil test possible ›
Pull soil samples in a zig-zag pattern through the middle of the area, or use a grid pattern.
Pull separate soil samples for areas that show crop damage, different soil types, or different water absorption patterns. Each composite sample should not represent an area larger than 20 acres.
Place soil samples in a clean plastic bucket that is not used for any other purpose. Metal buckets and residue on the bucket will corrupt the sample.
Send the soil samples to the address provided with your test bag.
Wait for the results!
Soil testing will reveal the health and nutrient profile of the soil, but it won’t show how plants actually absorb these nutrients. A number of factors can affect nutrient absorption in plants, and this won’t be clear from a soil sample. This is where tissue sampling comes in. A plant tissue sample will show what nutrients the plant has absorbed and the movement of nutrients throughout the plant.
Trees, vines, and other permanent crops use different nutrients in different ways. Some of these nutrients are mobile within the plant, so the nutrients will be redistributed to where they are needed most. Deficiencies in these nutrients can slow the tree’s overall growth and weaken its health. Other nutrients are locked into place, so they cannot be redistributed to blossoms, fruits, and seeds. With a tissue test, you can see underneath the visible effects, which can be difficult to interpret, and see how your crops are affected.
Benefits of Tissue Sampling
- Reveal issues with nutrient absorption
- Show diseases or fungus affecting plants
- Show nutrient movement and sugar processing
- Show stunted root growth
How do I gather a sample for a tissue test?
Like soil sampling, gathering a tissue sample is not complicated, but it must be done with care.
Follow these steps to gather your tissue sample ›
Sample plants using a grid pattern or zig-zag throughout the area. You’ll need a seperate sample for each 20 acre area.
Sampling methods will depend on the age and type of the plant. . Different trees may require slightly different harvesting methods. In general, collect healthy leaves from new shoots during mid-summer.It’s a good idea to take at least three samples from each part of the grid or zig-zag.
Be sure to collect clean plants without mud splash, and place them in the sample bag or in a clean plastic bucket. Mud, residues, or metal buckets can disrupt the sample.
Mail the tissue samples using the bag and address provided.
Wait for the results!
Have a specific crop problem you’re trying to solve?
AgroLiquid was founded because there wasn’t a nutritional product that was solving our fertilizer needs; now after 35 years our chemists and biologists continue to innovate and create the best products on the market. If you have a specific crop or soil problem, ask one of our agronomists and we’ll help you solve it!