Turf Plant Tissue Testing

Are turf health problems baffling you? Plant tissue testing could uncover the solution by helping diagnose deficiencies and toxicities before physical symptoms surface. Using both soil testing and plant tissue testing together, you can feel confident that you’ll select the correct course of action to remedy your turf health problems.

Start your turf on a healthy path with our turf plant tissue testing services. Contact our experts online or call us at 402.476.0300 to get started today.

Need more than just plant tissue turf testing? We also offer irrigation water testing and soil testing.

Testing Options

When tissue testing is used in conjunction with a soil analysis, it can provide information on what nutrient levels are most critical and how best to correct them.

Complete Tissue – an all-inclusive profile of your turf’s tissue nutrition levels.

  • Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, Sulfur, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Boron and Aluminum

Additional Analysis – these tests can be added to a package or ordered separately.

  • Nitrate
  • Ammonium
  • Molybdenum
  • Chloride

Sampling Guide

Turf Plant Tissue Sampling Guide – Click here
Turf Plant Tissue Submission Form – Click here

A plant analysis can be only as good as the sample that is collected. In most situations, samples are taken from the clippings during regular mowing cycles. While this type of sampling will work, it is important that samples be devoid of fertilizer, lime and sand contamination. Wait a minimum of two weeks after an actual application before taking samples.

When to Sample – Collecting multiple samples throughout the growing season is recommended.

Supplies

  • Sample Bags – Use only paper or cloth bags (no plastic bags). Label all samples clearly.
  • Sample Submission Forms – Please be sure all essential information is completed

Amount Needed – Approximately one cup of fresh clippings.

Plant Part to Sample – Leaf Blade

Procedure

  1. Samples should be collected on actively growing turf. Do not sample drought or severely diseased areas. If unique growth patterns are apparent, such as yellow to lighter green colored spots, sample these areas separately from “normal” growing areas.
  2. Collect approximately one cup of fresh clippings.
    a. Most plant tissue samples are collected from mower clippings. Soil and fertilizer materials from the mower may contaminate samples. For best results wait at least 2 weeks (if possible) from the last top dress application (fertilizer, fungicide or sand top dress).
  3. Complete all paperwork.
    a. Be sure the sample ID# on the sample submission form matches with the label on the sample bag.
    b. Form should include: client name, sample location and identification, and any special problems.
  4. Ship sample to AgSource Laboratories as soon as possible.
    a. Because of the high moisture level in plant tissue clippings, molding and degradation is a concern. If possible, let samples dry over night to remove excess moisture.
    b. Samples should be shipped in paper or cloth bags and loosely packed in the shipping box.
    DO NOT ship in plastic containers.
    c. If overnight drying is not possible, samples should be shipped by express delivery the same day.
    d. Avoid shipping samples close to the weekend. Shipping warehouses are very hot in the summer, increasing the chance of molding and degradation.

Results & Reports

Sample turnaround is three working days. Results are available online, via email or standard mail. Choose from Excel, PDF or CSV files or one of the Turf report options. AgSource offers two plant tissue reports.

  • Standard Report – graphs test levels as low, optimum or high. One sample is displayed per report page. Click to view the Standard Plant Tissue Report.
  • Summary Report – charts test results over time, allowing you to monitor nutrient uptake throughout the season. The Summary Report uses line graphs for easy side-by-side comparisons. Click to view the Summary Plant Tissue Report.

Plant Tissue Result Interpretation 
On each report, a sufficiency level is printed for each essential nutrient. To interpret tissue reports, compare the result of a specific nutrient to that of the nutrient range. If the comparison is in the optimum or high range, then the uptake for that specific nutrient is in adequate supply (at that point in time). An illustration of this would be potassium levels for 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. Reference the chart below to compare your results to the optimum range.

Optimum Nutrient Ranges for Various Turf Grasses

Bent Grass
Bermuda Grass
Blue Grass
Fescue Grass
Bahia Grass
Nitrogen (%)
4.0 – 5.0
2.5 – 3.5
4.0 – 4.5
3.4 – 4.5
1.5 – 2.5
Phosphorus (%)
0.3 – 0.6
0.2 – 0.5
0.3 – 0.5
0.3 – 0.5
0.2 – 0.5
Potassium (%)
2.2 – 3.5
1.0 – 3.0
2.5 – 3.5
2.6 – 4.0
1.0 – 3.0
Magnesium (%)
0.2 – 0.4
0.2 – 0.5
0.2 – 0.5
0.2 – 0.3
0.2 – 0.5
Calcium (%)
0.2 – 0.8
0.5 – 1.0
0.4 – 0.8
0.4 – 0.8
0.5 – 1.0
Sulfur (%)
0.2 – 1.0
0.2 – 0.5
0.2 – 0.4
0.2 – 0.4
0.2 – 0.5
Zinc ppm
20 – 70
20 – 125
40 – 60
40 – 60
20 – 125
Manganese ppm
20 – 100
25 – 100
30 – 200
30 – 200
25 – 100
Copper ppm
5 – 15
5 – 30
14 – 30
5 – 20
5 – 30
Iron ppm
30 – 300
20 – 250
50 – 300
50 – 300
20 – 250
Boron ppm
3 – 20
5 – 20
5 – 15
5 – 15
5 – 20

Resources

Submission Form – click here (Currently Unavailable)

Sampling Guide – click here

Technical Bulletins – Understanding a Plant Analysis – click here