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by Amanda McWhirt - March 8, 2018
How to participate in the strawberry plant tissue sampling program and results from
last year's samples.
Sampling the leaves and petioles (stems) of your strawberry plants during bloom, and
sending them to be analyzed for basic nutrients is a good way to see if the plants
have enough Nitrogen and other nutrients to produce a good crop. The test results
will tell you if you need to amend your spring fertility program early in the season
when there is still time to effect the crop being made.
We have a program set up at the University of Arkansas to help strawberry growers
sample their strawberry crop in the early spring and understand how to amend their
fertility program accordingly
Here is information on the program and the sign up sheet
Be sure to read this thoroughly as there are tips on how to take the sample and when.
You will need to separate petioles from the leaves. Contact your local county agent
Here is a guide to help growers interpret their test results.
Last year we collected data from all the samples growers submitted to the strawberry
plant tissue testing program to see if growers were meeting current recommended ranges
for plant tissue nutrient content at different stages of crop development.
Over twelve weeks in the spring of 2017 strawberry leaf tissue and petiole nutrient
results submitted to the Arkansas Agricultural Diagnostic Laboratory in Fayetteville
Arkansas were collected and analyzed.
One sample consisted of 15-20 leaves + petioles
15 growers across AR, 5 growers outside of AR
The orange bars represent where the standard recommended range is for the season or
the crop stage.
For Leaf tissue Nutrients
Most nutrients were within the recommended ranges. Boron was the exception with several
growers being too high or too low.
Excessive boron can cause toxicity symptom like this:
Thanks to Karlee Pruitt for sharing these pictures of Boron toxicity!
Not enough Boron can result in misshapen fruit. This often appears as fruit that are poorly formed
on one side or undersized.
Here is a picture from Cornell:
Picture Source: https://blogs.cornell.edu/berrytool/strawberries/strawberries-fruits-are-deformed-or-nubby-at-the-tips/
If your test comes back as low Boron? Apply a low rate of 0.125 lbs B/ acre to start.
To get 0.125 lbs of B per acre you could apply:
It is important to remember for petiole NO3-N the recommended range changes based
on the crop age. In the early season during bloom the petiole NO3-N level should be
between 4000 and 6000 ppm and should drop down to between 3000 and 5000 once fruiting
starts. For this reason we ask what the crop stage is on the form when you submit
Early in the season a large number of growers where below the recommended range for petiole
NO3-N contents. This is significant because early in the season is when fertility
rates are likely most important in determining the crop yield potential later in the
See the Area I am referring to highlighted here:
Growers should quickly amend their fertility programs upon receiving a test result with low petiole NO3-N.
Here is a guide to helping determine how much nitrogen to put out per acre based on your petiole NO3-N test results. Calcium Nitrate and Potassium Nitrate are
commonly used in fertigation programs for plasticulture strawberry production in the
I will collect test results again this year and report back again in 2019.
Also MANY thanks to Cheri Villines in the lab who processes all the samples and keeps
this program going!