We put a great deal of effort and resources into ensuring quality with our analyses here at A&L Great Lakes Labs. We want the data that you receive from us to be of the highest quality so that it is of the most benefit to you and your operation. However, quality analysis is only one piece of the puzzle. Good quality data begins with a good quality sample, and how the sample is collected and handled after collection goes a long way to ensuring its usefulness.
Plant tissue testing can be a very valuable tool to use in your fertility program. However, there are a number of guidelines that should be followed to ensure that this information is useful to you.
- Sample the correct part of the plant. The interpretations of plant tissue analysis have been developed based on a particular part of the plant, and that part can vary based on the crop and growth stage of the crop. For more information, please refer to our Plant Analysis Sampling Guide, available from our website.
- Collect enough sample for analysis. The amount of sample to collect can also be found in the Plant Analysis Sampling Guide. The amount of material listed is generally a guideline to help ensure that the sample is representative, but is not a minimum requirement.
- If the samples are extremely dirty, shake off any excess dirt or gently wipe the samples off. Washing of samples is generally discouraged, as this can affect the potassium (K) content of the material. If you do choose to wash the samples, do so soon after sampling and before shipping to the lab to reduce these losses as much as possible.
- Place the samples into PAPER bags, never plastic! Paper bags allow the samples to breathe and preserve the integrity of the sample.
- Include a completed Plant Tissue Submittal Form with your samples. Complete the form as thoroughly as possible to ensure that your report is accurate. Be sure to indicate the plant type and growth stage on the submittal form.
- Pack the samples loosely into a box, and ship them to the lab as soon as possible. It is generally best to ship the samples so that they arrive at the lab within 2 days (samples shipped via UPS Ground generally arrive within two days when shipped from anywhere in the Great Lakes region). It is best to ship samples Monday-Wednesday, to reduce the possibility of samples being in transit over the weekend.
If you have any questions about plant tissue analysis, please contact your A&L Great Lakes regional agronomist or call the lab at 260-483-4759 and we will be happy to assist you!