Time for Leaf Analysis

The next two weeks will be the best time to collect your leaves for mineral nutrient analysis.  The time for collection is between July 20th and August 20th. Leaf testing is available through UVM Agricultural and Environmental Testing Laboratory (phone: 802-656-3030 or 1-800-244-6402). Instructions for leaf sampling collections are included in this letter. Please follow the instructions carefully to avoid any mistakes in the analysis. The fall is a good time to do the soil analysis. It is important to do both tests because these tests compliment each other. The soil analysis tests will give you an assessment of the acidity and the fertility of the soil before the growing season, whereas leaf analysis gives you the nutritional status of the plant during the growing season. I will send a reminder in the fall for your soil analysis. As part of our budget to help improve fruit quality, we requested funds to provide one free leaf and soil test for each grower.   On the information sheet you will send along with your leaf  and soil sample, write the word FREE on the top of the sheet.


1. TIME TO SAMPLE:  Between July 20th and August 20th.

  1. WHAT TO SAMPLE:  Select 60 to 100 leaves from the middle of current season terminal shoots.  If sampling is done later than July 25th, select the first full-sized, mature leaf behind the shoot tip.  Select 1 or 2 leaves per shoot from several shoots on each of several trees exposed to light.  Shoots to be sampled should be 5 to 7 feet above ground level in larger-sized trees and 3 to 6 feet above ground level in smaller sized trees (young trees, trellised or slender spindle planting).  Shoots sampled should be of average vigor (length and diameter) for the trees in the planting.

AVOID excessively strong shoots (near pruning cuts) and extremely weak shoots.
DO NOT include spur leaves.
DO NOT include leaves damaged by disease, insects, weather or mechanical injury.

  1. TREES SAMPLED should represent the average condition within the orchard unless special samples are
being taken to determine cause(s) of a distinct problem or condition.

  1. SOIL CONDITIONS, PAST FERTILIZER PRACTICES, AND SPRAY PROGRAMS should by uniform (similar) over the entire area sampled.  If any of these conditions are different in various parts of the orchard, it will be necessary to sample these areas separately.
  2. COLLECTING AND HANDLING SAMPLES:  Remove leaves by pulling downward so the petiole remains attached to the leaf.  Place leaves in a dry paper bag or perforated plastic bag and immediately label the bag so that you will know where it came from.

Wash the leaves before they wilt to remove spray residues and dirt.  Gently rub the leaves together in a mild detergent solution (dish washing detergent in tap water).  SEE FOLLOWING SECTION FOR DIRECTIONS FOR WASHING LEAVES.

Place sample in dry paper bag, with top open, and let dry at room temperature until leaves are brittle.

  1. FILL OUT the sample information sheet.  BE SURE that the leaf sample bag and the information sheet have been marked with the same identification number.

Each sample bag must have….

Your name and/or orchard
Variety and age
Block identification number, letter or name
Be stapled or taped shut

7. MAKE OUT a check or money order payable to UVM Testing Service and
enclose check, information sheets and leaf sample in a mailing carton.  COST PER SAMPLE:  $18.00.  This test includes N, K, Ca, Mg, P, B, Mn, Zn, N:K and K:Mg rates.

  1. Either seal the carton with tape or tie it securely with string.
  2. Mail or bring the carton to the Agricultural Testing Lab, Plant & Soil Science Dept., 219 Hills Building, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT  05405.


Wash the leaf samples while still fresh,
before they wilt.  If a large number of samples are involved, they can be stored overnight in a cold storage, refrigerator, of ice chest to keep them from drying out.

Use distilled water, available at most drugstores, for washing and rinsing the samples.  Change the water as it becomes dirty
or after 8 to 10 samples (whichever occurs first).  Gently and lightly scrub the leaves together in a mild detergent solution (most dish washing detergents are satisfactory).

Shake the excess water and immediately rinse the sample in clean, distilled water.  Again, shake to remove excess water.

Spread out sample on clean paper towels until leaf surfaces are dry.

Transfer sample to paper bag, with top open, and dry at room temperature until the leaves are brittle.

Do not let leaves stand in water - complete the washing and rinsing process in one minute


Lab Sample Number: _____________   Date Sample Collected: _________________________

Telephone Number: ______________________________

Grower Address: _________________________________________________________________________
Orchard Name or Block: _________________________________________________________________________

Cultivar: ______________________    AVERAGE TREE AGE: ___________________________
Spur Type (  ) or Non Spur (  )        Rootstock (main): ________________________________

Overall Tree Vigor (circle):       GOOD    MEDIUM    POOR
Average Terminal Growth (circle):  <6"     7" to 14"     15" to 23"     >24"
"very important to note"
General Leaf Size (circle):   LARGE    NORMAL     SMALL
Overall Green Leaf Color (circle):  DARK    MEDIUM     LIGHT OR PALE
Crop Load This Year (circle):   NONE    LIGHT     MODERATE    HEAVY

Soil Type: _________________________ Soil Drainage Good:     YES (  )   NO (  )

Is a Herbicide Program Being Used:  YES (  )   NO (  )
Is an Irrigation  Program Being Used:  YES (  )   NO (  )

FERTILIZER PROGRAM (Ground or spray) for the current year
Amount per acre (  ) or per tree (  )
Nitrogen: __________________  Boron: ___________________________________
Potassium: _________________  Calcium: _________________________________
Magnesium: _________________ Lime: ___________________________________
                                                     (and when last applied) ______________________
Other Nutrients:

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