Plant tissue analysis is an extremely helpful tool in determining the nutritional needs of plants. It directly indicates the exact amount of each mineral that the plant is removing from the soil and accumulating in the leaves. Each analysis will represent a part of the overall crop nutrition picture. Plant tissue analysis is also a very effective way to determine if a current fertility program is efficient or if there are ways to modify it to achieve an increased benefit. Visual symptoms of mineral deficiencies are oftentimes a misleading way of diagnosing the nutritional status of plants because the symptoms of different nutrient deficiencies are similar. Also, non-nutritional problems can appear very similar to deficiencies.
A large exporter of table grapes in Chile completed this trial which consisted of implementing a Metalosate program at the same cost as the grower’s standard program. The export company then measured calcium content and the pressure in the grapes which were stored for a total of eight weeks.
Another way of interpreting plant tissue analysis is to look at optimal ranges. The Diagnosis and Recommendation Integrated System (DRIS) was developed to incorporate the importance of nutrient balance into plant analysis. This system relies very heavily upon yield and plant analysis data gathered from the field over an extended period of time. Ultimately, the system is designed to indicate the appropriate ranges for all the essential nutrients that will maximize quality and yield. The DRIS system does not address the relationships that may take place between the minerals.
Albion Plant Nutrition has developed a new method to evaluate plant tissue analysis results. This method relies on the development of a unique computer program called – Technical Evaluation of Albion Minerals (T.E.A.M). Albion’s T.E.A.M. analysis not only evaluates how much of each nutrient is found in the tissue and compares that finding against its optimal level, but the T.E.A.M. program also measures the relationships between the minerals. The program ranks the minerals based on their limitation to optimal crop production. At the bottom of the report, recommendations are listed for the foliar application of nutrients to correct for nutrient deficiencies or imbalances.
In the case of the macronutrients (N, P, K, & S) the foliar application should only be considered a supplement to these elements being supplied by the soil. In most cases soil applications of these elements will be required in addition to the recommended foliar sprays.
When trying to determine plant nutritional needs, plant tissue analysis can provide some very important information. Being able to accurately interpret the results of a tissue test is critical to success. Albion’s unique T.E.A.M. reporting system provides you with all of the necessary information to accurately diagnose and address specific nutritional problems. Please contact your local Albion representative to answer any questions that you may have.