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plant sap analysis

Posted by Michael Phillips 
plant sap analysis
July 04, 2020 01:31PM
This year's research efforts center around fine-tuning foliar nutrients based on three rounds of plant sap analysis. One goal here is to identify the timing of essential nutrients with respect to flower viability, cell division in the fruitlet, and robust photosynthesis all summer long. Leaf samples are being taken from the same trees each time in two different blocks. The block aspect let's me tweak timing nuance and even run effectiveness comparisons between specific nutrient formulations. Needless to say, useful things are being learned. Grower-members will be able to find my "sap log" in the Secret Tattoo at the end of this growing season, which is when this discussion hopefully takes off. I expect to do three rounds of sap analysis again in 2021 to further establish a baseline understanding all fruit growers can utilize. This in turn allows some soil work (think sul-po-mag and gypsum) before next year's buds unfurl.

Meanwhile, I am touching base with several other growers who are also working with plant sap analysis. Oxidized minerals like manganese seem to come up short across the board. Establishing a deep green hue is all about iron and magnesium. Calcium is the kingpin, and how this ties to the pulsing of boron and potassium across the season absolutely fascinating. Another goal is to try to get a handle on "soil constitution" to be able to provide community-scale growers a package approach to recommendations. Perhaps this will be based on Cation Exchange Capacity and base saturation ratios. Or it may be every grower needs to touch base at least once (spending a hundred bucks for a single sap analysis) to get a sense of underlying site parameters. I'm tabulating such data if you're in a position to share your insights and results.

The third goal in this project is to find out when homegrown remedies suit, be it fermented plant extracts or mineralized concoctions with organic chelates. Epsom salts, for instance, are the traditional way to up magnesium levels, and certainly far more economical than paying shipping charges on a liquid product. But what if we learn how to make that delivery of magnesium sulfate even more effective than merely dissolving salts in the bath (spray tank) water? Those of you with homegrown formulating experience should get in touch as well, whether by adding your bit to this thread or emailing me direct at michael@groworganicapples.com.

Tree nutrition from the holistic perspective . . . who would have thunk it?

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/25/2020 04:31PM by Michael Phillips.
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