Leaf & Plant Tissue Sampling Procedure - Ward Laboratories Inc.

Plant Analysis | Leaf & Plant Tissue Sampling Procedure

Leaf & Plant Tissue Sampling Procedure

We can help you determine if there are excessive or insufficient nutrient levels in a variety of plant tissues including: corn, beans, small grains, hay, grasses, alfalfa, and milo. See the various sampling procedures below.

Sampling procedure varies by crop. Please consult the table below for instructions for your plant type

Field Crop   Stage of Growth Plant Part to Sample No. of Plants to Sample
Corn Seedling stage
(Less than 12″)
All the above ground portion 20 – 30
    Prior to tasseling The top leaf with collar 15 – 25
    From tasseling to early silking The entire leaf at the ear (or immediately below it) 15 – 25
    Sampling after silks brown is not recommended.    
Field Crop   Stage of Growth Plant Part to Sample No. of Plants to Sample
Soybeans or other beans Seedling stage
(Less than 12″)
All the above ground portion 20 – 30
    Initial flowering Two or three fully developed leaves at the top of the plant 20 – 30
    Sampling after pods begin to fill is not recommended.    
Field Crop   Stage of Growth Plant Part to Sample No. of Plants to Sample
Small Grain Seedling stage
(Less than 12″)
All the above ground portion 50 – 100
    Boot to heading The above ground portion 20 – 30
    Sampling after pods begin to fill is not recommended.    
Field Crop   Stage of Growth Plant Part to Sample No. of Plants to Sample
Hay, pasture or forage grasses   Just prior to seed head emergence or 4 to 6 weeks after clipping Whole tops 20 – 30
Field Crop   Stage of Growth Plant Part to Sample No. of Plants to Sample
Alfalfa Bud stage to 1st flower The upper 1/3 of the plant 15 – 25
Field Crop   Stage of Growth Plant Part to Sample No. of Plants to Sample
Milo Very early heading Second leaf from top of plant 15 – 25

Cover Crop Plant Analyses Sampling Procedure:

  1. When sampling cover crops, a measuring tool is helpful. Examples include a 3’X3’ square made of PVC pipe or a hula-hoop with a known diameter. It is important that you know the exact size of the area you sample for biomass calculations later.
  2. Toss or place your measuring tool at random in an area of the field.  Cut green foliage 1 inch above the soil surface within the sampling area and place the cut sample in a large plastic bag.  
  3. Collecting one random sample per 40-acre block is a good starting point.  Sampling 3 or 4 areas will provide more precise per acre measurements of the cover crop yield and nutrient values.
  4. Submit each sample in a large plastic garbage bag.  This allows us to account for the moisture and to calculate total dry matter and nutrient values per acre.
  5. Samples should arrive to the lab promptly to ensure accurate biomass and analytical measurements.

Order plant tissue sample bags

Ready to submit your sample?

Download the submittal form and make sure you include your name, address, phone number, sample ID, and desired analysis. Email address is suggested for rapid return on reports.

Your results will be emailed once completed. Turnaround time varies by analysis and season, but most sample results will be sent within 1-3 days of the samples arriving at the lab. You will receive an invoice with the results, payable by check, credit card or through our online portal.

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