University of Maryland Extension

Fruit Growers: Time for Tissue Testing!

Attention all fruit growers! What is the sampling date on your last tissue and soil analyses? Are they more than three years old? Do you have reason to question the results of your last analysis?

This is the time of year to plan your tissue sampling needs. Sampling tissues from fruit crops requires selecting tissue samples when nutrient levels in leaves are relatively stable. Refer to the chart to determine proper sampling time for specific fruits. Note that it is advisable to select tissue samples from a wide selection of plants throughout the entire block or field.

Soils should be sampled at the same time you sample the fruit. Remember that nutrient management plans require laboratory analysis of both tissues and soils in order to determine nutrient recommendations.

Reference: “Sample Collection and Preparation for Perennial Fruit Crops.” If you would like a copy of this publication, contact the Extension Office.



Time to Sample

Number of Samples/Plant Part

Location on Plant


1st week of harvest

40 leaves

(detach petioles)

Current season’s growth


Aug 1st – Aug 20th

60 leaves

(detach petioles)

Select the most recent fully expanded leaf blade of each primocane.

Fruit Trees

Jul 15th – Sept 1st

50 leaves and petioles

Select shoots at eye level form around outside of the tree. Select shoots that make a vertical angle of 45-60 degrees to the ground. Remove 1 or 2 leaves from the mid-portion of the current season’s growth.


At full bloom

75 petioles

Remove the petiole across from the first blossom cluster, closest to the cordon or permanent cane.

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