Maximizing Plant Tissue Analysis

How can plant tissue analysis improve my turfgrass?

Plant tissue analysis offers turf managers a snapshot in time – lending a precise measurement of the nutritional status of a plant at the time the tissue sample was collected. This information allows managers to determine if a specific nutrient is lacking before a deficiency symptom becomes apparent.

It also opens up the door to understanding the relative health of turfgrass and the interrelationships between all essential plant nutrients. Helping determine when a specific nutrient should be applied.

Data-driven management

The report from a plant tissue analysis indicates a sufficiency level for each essential nutrient comparing the reported value to the ideal nutrient range. If the concentration is in the optimum or high range, then the uptake for that specific nutrient is in adequate supply (at that point in time). An example of this might be potassium levels in bentgrass greens: the optimum level for potassium is 2.2 to 3.5%. If the value printed on your report is 3.7%, you would interpret potassium as adequate at the time the sample was collected.

Because a tissue analysis is not a predictive measurement, a good practice is to collect multiple tissue samples throughout the growing season. This allows you to graph and track plant nutrient content over time, revealing trends that can be used for seasonal fertilizer adjustments.

Using a seasonal plant tissue analysis can help prepare a data-driven fertilizer plan for the next growing season, complimenting a soil analysis. In the case of manganese, a soil analysis isn’t a strong tool for evaluating actual availability. If a tissue sample were tracked over the growing season and manganese was found to be low, the chances of a positive response to manganese fertilizer the next year will be high.

When plant tissue analysis is used in conjunction with a soil analysis, it can provide information on critical nutrient levels and help teams strategize on the best action plan. For example, if soil pH is at a critical level (above pH 7.5 on the chart), a foliar application of an iron compound is preferable to a soil application.

Good samples yield quality results

A plant tissue analysis is only as good as the sample collected. In most situations samples are taken from the clippings during regular mowing cycles – follow our tips on collecting a quality tissue sample for analysis found at

For more information get in touch with us at 402.476.0300

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