Importance of Leaf Tissue and Water Analysis

citrus greening
leaf, water analysis

Oscar Ruiz

Oscar Ruiz with Waypoint Analytical discusses the importance of leaf tissue and water analysis.

“Leaf tissue analysis is important because we can actually gauge in-season what the plant is capable of uptaking,” he says. That information, along with information garnered from soil sampling, allows the grower to “fine tune the fertility program and adjust it accordingly,” he says. “I recommend (leaf tissue analysis) as often as possible, but the general minimum is about three to four times per season … If you take one and you have to do an adjustment or make an amendment, I consider it important to go in and take another follow-up to see if your application made a difference or your prescription made a difference.”

“Determining the type of water and the quality of the water will give you an idea of what salts or pH values that water is bringing to the field,” Ruiz says. “It will also give you an idea of how that water will react with any other chemicals that you may be utilizing. A lot of people use that water not just for irrigation, but to apply fungicides, herbicides, that type of thing.” He cautions that if a grower is applying chemicals that are not compatible with the water, “then you’re wasting money on that chemical application.”

Ruiz recommends taking a water sample at the start of the season “and maybe once during the middle of the season … and maybe once at the end of the season … Do it for a while until you get a feel for how your water changes across the year.”

Ruiz discussed soil, tissue and water sampling at a recent seminar hosted by the Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District. The seminar in Sebring attracted numerous citrus growers and other farmers.

Hear the interview with Ruiz:

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About the Author
Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large