Importance of Using A&L Tissue Sampling - A&L February 2020 Newsletter

Modern agriculture production strives to achieve the highest potential yields, and qualities. Additionally, producers wish to control input costs, and increase profits from their yields. To satisfy these demands, plant analysis has become a valuable plant monitoring tool.

Top quality and profitable yields, unfortunately, don’t just happen. Many factors need to be considered such as adequate moisture and fertility, proper plant populations, adapted varieties for disease resistance, insect control and the list goes on.

One of the more important factors affecting crop yields is the nutrient status of the plant or the flow of nutrients to plant tissues during the growing season. Nutrient status is an “unseen” factor in plant growth, except when deficiencies become so acute that visual deficiency symptoms appear on the plant.

Plant populations can be counted, and variety names or numbers can be read on the label. Rainfall can be measured with gauges. However, the determination of the nutrient status of these plants requires precision laboratory analysis of the representative plant tissue sample during the growing season.


A plant tissue analysis will measure the nutrient status of the crop during the growth stage and detect unseen “Hidden Hungers”. Plant tissue analysis can also supply information to confirm visual deficiency symptoms.

Though usually used as a diagnostic tool for the affirmation of visible nutrient problems, an in-season plant tissue monitoring program from the onset of plant growth will allow for a corrective fertilizer application prior to visible nutrient deficiencies and minimize the loss of potential yield. The earlier the deficiency is detected in the season the greater the success of correcting the deficiency before it becomes yield and or quality limiting. There is no tool that provides a grower with more information than a well-collected tissue sample!

Combined with data from a soil analysis, a tissue analysis is an important tool in determining proper fertilizer applications and supplementations to balance the nutrient requirements of the crop.

A complete plant tissue analysis from A&L Canada Laboratories will identify the nutrient status of the following elements at strategic times during the growth stage of the plant: Nitrogen, Iron, Sulfur, Aluminum, Phosphorus, Manganese, Potassium, Boron, Magnesium, Copper, Calcium, Zinc and Sodium. Once received at the lab, Plant Tissue analysis reports can be returned to clients within 24 hours allowing for immediate adjustments to foliar feeding programs.


We are frequently asked by clients about how our different crop stage reference ranges are developed. Through A&L Canada in-house research and our extensive data base we are continuously updating and confirming the crops ranges that are supplied in our plant tissue reports. As a member of the Crop Science of America Society we can continuously update and review these crop ranges in our extensive data base. We also have staff regularly reading journal articles regarding nutrient sufficiency and we compare and adjust our ranges where necessary based on this research.


To analyze sap, one would collect the same samples as in tissue analysis but remove the leaflets, chop up the petioles, mix them thoroughly, then squeeze out several drops of sap using a very heavy press. This testing is possible with succulent plants that have high levels of moisture in their leaves, however for finer plant material such as those from traditional cash crops, very little SAP can be collected making an accurate analysis very difficult.

A&L Canada Laboratories Research has shown that SAP testing results can be quite variable and not as consistent a technique as our North American Proficiency Testing (NAPT) validated Tissue Analysis. Variable results combined with turnaround times of 3-5 days or longer make SAP testing not as viable an option.


To optimize productivity of your next crop, plan now to make plant tissue analysis part of your fertility monitoring procedure and enhance your nutrient program. This tissue monitoring data combined with your soil test or media test data will ensure you set your crop up for success.

Contact your input supplier or A&L Canada Laboratories to learn more about our Plant Tissue analysis and plan for success this year! To learn more about interpreting Plant Tissue reports, please refer to our technical bulletin at

Read the complete A&L February 2020 Newsletter online: