Leaf Analysis

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FAS offers a comprehensive leaf sampling package for all crops including macadamias, avocados, maize, fruit and vegetables.

Leaf sampling should be a routine part of crop management. It can be used to establish how effectively nutrients from the soil are being taken up, whether they are present in the crop in the correct balance, and whether there are any problems that need to be addressed.

What We Offer

ANALYSES SA
(incl. VAT)
SADC Countries Other Countries
ROUTINE (SUGARCANE) Cost Per Sample
Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur, silicon, zinc, manganese, copper, iron – (If insufficient material exclude silicon). R210.00 R253.00 R337.00
ROUTINE (OTHER CROPS) Cost per sample
Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur, zinc, manganese, copper, iron. R253.00 R253.00 R337.00
SUPPLEMENTARY Cost per element per sample
Analyses can be requested for silicon for all crops and boron for sugarcane. R115.00 R130.00 R142.00

Sampling Procedures

General Considerations (All Crops)

If interested please download our leaf submission form.

Submission

Step One

To ensure the most reliable interpretations, the crop must also be sampled at the correct age, and in the correct month of the year. Ask your local advisor to assist you with this.

Step Two

Leaf material should ideally be collected in a ‘zigzag’ pattern across the field or orchard being sampled.

Step Three

Leaf samples should not be taken from dead, damaged, diseased or stressed plants; furthermore, plant or leaf material covered by dust or soil should not be included in samples.

Step Four

If patches of poor growth are apparent in an otherwise healthy-looking field, separate samples should be taken from the ‘poor’ and ‘good’ areas and submitted for analysis. This will aid in the diagnosis of the problem.

Step Five

The total fresh (wet) sample mass submitted to FAS should be at least 250g.

Step Six

Collected leaves should be placed in clean paper bags.

Step Seven

In cases where the samples cannot be delivered to the laboratory for analysis on the day of sampling, they should be kept in the refrigerator (not a freezer) or alternatively dried by spreading out in a well-ventilated room.

Step Eight

Samples should be accurately labelled, with a completed leaf submission form included in the dispatch to FAS. NB: all necessary crop details should be included on the submission form, and very importantly, sample identifications on the submission form (e.g. field number) should be identical to those on the samples.

Sampling Procedures for Specific Crops

Sugarcane

Be careful not to contaminate the leaf samples by contact with fertiliser or used fertiliser bags. Leaf samples should not be kept for long periods in an airtight bag or container, or they may start going mouldy.

Sugarcane
  • To ensure the most reliable interpretations, the crop must also be sampled at the correct age, and in the correct month of the year. Ask your local advisor to assist you with this.
  • Collect about 40 leaves in this way from across the field, following a zigzag pattern.
  • As soon as possible after collecting the samples, strip out the midrib from this portion; this is easily done by tearing. Discard the midrib.
  • Bundle the leaf blades together and tie them up with a leaf sample label. Fill in all the details on this label, as well as on the leaf sample submission form.
Maize Sampling
  • Leaf sampling may be undertaken at any stage up to tasselling.
  • Leaf samples should not be collected for analysis after pollination.
  • For maize plant less than 30 cm tall, sample all the above ground part cut at 3 cm above the soil surface.
  • For maize plant greater than 30 cm, but prior to tassseling, sample the whole first mature leaf below the whorl. Mature is completely unrolled from the stalk and consists of formed sheath.
  • For maize plant consisting of 50% of ears showing silks, sample the whole ear leaf. Cut off at the base of the leaf, but leaf should not be included. Sample before silks turn brown.
  • Samples are taken from 20 or more plants in zigzag pattern across the field.
  • Individual leaves should be broken into sections prior to placing in the sample bag.
Grass (Pasture or Turf) Sampling
  • Sample the above-ground green plant material.
  • The material sampled should be primary growth or re-growth not older than 6 weeks.
  • If sampling is from a grazed pasture, particular care should be taken to avoid material from dung or urine patches being included in samples.
Avocado Sampling
  • Leaf samples are taken from a 6 to 8 month old leaves between February and April.
  • Collect 4 leaves per tree from the alternate sides of approximately 20 trees.
Citrus Sampling
  • Samples should be cultivar-specific.
  • Sampling should be collected from bearing trees, preferably in the morning when the dew has dried off.
  • Leaf samples should be collected behind the fruit on the fruit-bearing terminal shoots.
  • Citrus type cultivars:
  • Easy peelers
  • Navels and grape fruit
  • Midseasons and Valencias
  • Leaf sampling periods:
  • End of February
  • Mid-March
  • Mid-April
  • Collect matured (5 to 7 month-old) leaves, 3 to 4 per tree from approximately 20 healthy trees and ensure that samples are all not collected from the same side of the tree.
  • Leaf samples should be collected behind the fruit on the fruit-bearing terminal shoots.
Guava Sampling
  • Leaf samples collected from different cultivars should be separated.
  • The leaf sampling for litchis is done between mid-September and mid-November.
  • Collect 4 leaves per tree from the alternate sides of approximately 20 healthy trees selected throughout the orchard.
  • The sample can be collected from either of the leaf positions.
Mangoes Sampling
  • Leaf samples for macadamia must be collected between October and November.
  • Collect 4 leaves per tree from the alternate sides of approximately 20 trees, well distributed throughout the field.
  • Target the third youngest fully open leaf from 20 homogeneously appearing and well distributed plants throughout the block.
Macadamia Sampling
  • Leaf analysis is generally done only on trees that are 5 years or older.
  • Collect 4 leaves per tree from the alternate sides of approximately 20 selected trees.
  • Mark all the trees used for sampling so that samples can be collected from the same trees every year.
Litchis Sampling
  • Sampling is conducted between January and March (depending on the pruning time).
  • Collect 4 leaf samples per tree on alternate sides of the tree behind the largest fruit from 20 trees.
Bananas Sampling
  • Plants can be leaf sampled when they have produced an inflorescence, but before developing a bunch.
  • Samples should be taken in February and March
  • Target the third youngest fully open leaf from 20 homogeneously appearing and well distributed plants throughout the block.
  • Take two squares of lamina (150 x 150 mm) from either side of the midrib at the mid-point of the leaf.

Contact Us

Mbali Shezi
FAS Admin Assistant
031 508 7474
fas@sugar.org.za

Drop Off Points

Find your nearest drop off point!

Leaf Samples

All leaf material must be submitted in either a brown paper bag or in cardboard. Labels for leaf samples are available free of charge from every Extension office.

Sugarcane

  • To ensure the most reliable interpretations, the crop must also be sampled at the correct age, and in the correct month of the year. Ask your local advisor to assist you with this.
  • Collect about 40 leaves in this way from across the field, following a zigzag pattern.
  • As soon as possible after collecting the samples, strip out the midrib from this portion; this is easily done by tearing. Discard the midrib.
  • Bundle the leaf blades together and tie them up with a leaf sample label. Fill in all the details on this label, as well as on the leaf sample submission form.

Maize Sampling

  • Leaf sampling may be undertaken at any stage up to tasselling.
  • Leaf samples should not be collected for analysis after pollination.
  • For maize plant less than 30 cm tall, sample all the above ground part cut at 3 cm above the soil surface.
  • For maize plant greater than 30 cm, but prior to tassseling, sample the whole first mature leaf below the whorl. Mature is completely unrolled from the stalk and consists of formed sheath.
  • For maize plant consisting of 50% of ears showing silks, sample the whole ear leaf. Cut off at the base of the leaf, but leaf should not be included. Sample before silks turn brown.
  • Samples are taken from 20 or more plants in zigzag pattern across the field.
  • Individual leaves should be broken into sections prior to placing in the sample bag.

Grass (Pasture or Turf) Sampling

  • Sample the above-ground green plant material.
  • The material sampled should be primary growth or re-growth not older than 6 weeks.
  • If sampling is from a grazed pasture, particular care should be taken to avoid material from dung or urine patches being included in samples.

Avocado Sampling

  • Leaf samples are taken from a 6 to 8 month old leaves between February and April.
  • Collect 4 leaves per tree from the alternate sides of approximately 20 trees.

Citrus Sampling

  • Samples should be cultivar-specific.
  • Sampling should be collected from bearing trees, preferably in the morning when the dew has dried off.
  • Leaf samples should be collected behind the fruit on the fruit-bearing terminal shoots.
  • Citrus type cultivars:
  • Easy peelers
  • Navels and grape fruit
  • Midseasons and Valencias
  • Leaf sampling periods:
  • End of February
  • Mid-March
  • Mid-April
  • Collect matured (5 to 7 month-old) leaves, 3 to 4 per tree from approximately 20 healthy trees and ensure that samples are all not collected from the same side of the tree.
  • Leaf samples should be collected behind the fruit on the fruit-bearing terminal shoots.

Guava Sampling

  • Leaf samples collected from different cultivars should be separated.
  • The leaf sampling for litchis is done between mid-September and mid-November.
  • Collect 4 leaves per tree from the alternate sides of approximately 20 healthy trees selected throughout the orchard.
  • The sample can be collected from either of the leaf positions.

Mangoes Sampling

  • Leaf samples for macadamia must be collected between October and November.
  • Collect 4 leaves per tree from the alternate sides of approximately 20 trees, well distributed throughout the field.
  • Target the third youngest fully open leaf from 20 homogeneously appearing and well distributed plants throughout the block.

Macadamia Sampling

  • Leaf analysis is generally done only on trees that are 5 years or older.
  • Collect 4 leaves per tree from the alternate sides of approximately 20 selected trees.
  • Mark all the trees used for sampling so that samples can be collected from the same trees every year.

Litchis Sampling

  • Sampling is conducted between January and March (depending on the pruning time).
  • Collect 4 leaf samples per tree on alternate sides of the tree behind the largest fruit from 20 trees.

Banana Sampling

  • Plants can be leaf sampled when they have produced an inflorescence, but before developing a bunch.
  • Samples should be taken in February and March
  • Target the third youngest fully open leaf from 20 homogeneously appearing and well distributed plants throughout the block.
  • Take two squares of lamina (150 x 150 mm) from either side of the midrib at the mid-point of the leaf.

Step One
To ensure the most reliable interpretations, the crop must also be sampled at the correct age, and in the correct month of the year. Ask your local advisor to assist you with this.
Step Two
Leaf material should ideally be collected in a ‘zigzag’ pattern across the field or orchard being sampled.
Step Three
Leaf samples should not be taken from dead, damaged, diseased or stressed plants; furthermore, plant or leaf material covered by dust or soil should not be included in samples.
Step Four
If patches of poor growth are apparent in an otherwise healthy-looking field, separate samples should be taken from the ‘poor’ and ‘good’ areas and submitted for analysis. This will aid in the diagnosis of the problem.
Step Five
The total fresh (wet) sample mass submitted to FAS should be at least 250g.
Step Six
Collected leaves should be placed in clean paper bags.
Step Seven
In cases where the samples cannot be delivered to the laboratory for analysis on the day of sampling, they should be kept in the refrigerator (not a freezer) or alternatively dried by spreading out in a well-ventilated room.
Step Eight
Samples should be accurately labelled, with a completed leaf submission form included in the dispatch to FAS. NB: all necessary crop details should be included on the submission form, and very importantly, sample identifications on the submission form (e.g. field number) should be identical to those on the samples.