Soil Testing, Plant, and Water Analysis For intensive Agricultural Nurseries

Advising and Testing for Intensive Agriculture

In Intensive Agriculture, crops are grown in non-traditional growing systems such as growing outdoors in a substrate growing medium, often made of peat, coir or wood products.

This type of growing can be done without soil fumigation and may be the way many agricultural crops are grown in the future.

The floricultural industry transitioned to this type of growing system in the early 1990’s and now there is interest from traditional agriculture, most notably the berry industry at this time.

Over 20 Years Experience

Perry Laboratory has been active in Intensive Agriculture growing systems since the early 1990’s and has adapted many of the techniques learned previously to the growing systems of today.

In intensive agricultural production, intensive horticulture is practiced to grow plants for specialized growing situations.

The use of laboratory testing helps in making the best management decisions.

What we do

Many farmers utilize routine laboratory testing to help track how their fertility levels are reacting to their management practices. Routine laboratory testing gives an indication of whether the growing media acidity/alkalinity is increasing or decreasing. The concentration of soluble salts can help determine whether the irrigation practices are providing sufficient leaching to avoid an excessive accumulation of soluble salts.

Routine soil testing helps determine if the fertility levels are satisfactory for the crops being grown. This in turn reveals if the fertilizer program is operating properly. A fertilizer program entails the proper fertilizer materials being used at the correct rate of application in a uniform manner. These areas are addressed in a routine testing program.

When plants are in a deficient or excessive growing system, they are often affected, however do not show the symptoms immediately. When the problem is identified early enough, it can be corrected and the symptoms may not show in the plants. Problems can occur from many areas, including the use of wrong fertilizer materials, equipment failure or personnel mistakes.

This is particularly important for crops that are grown to be ready for sale at a particular period, such as a low availability market time.

Routine Soil Testing

Helps to determine if fertility levels are satisfactory for crops being grown, and may in turn reveal if the fertilizer components are being used at the correct rate of application.

Plant Tissue Analysis

Determines the actual nutrient levels within the plants and can indicate possible imbalances with nutrients in the media and also the growth activity of the root system of the plants. This helps to determine if there may be problems in nutrient uptake, unavailability of nutrients or possibly environmental problems.

Substrate Fertility Monitoring

This testing monitors the consistency of the mix components, along with the uniformity of the mixing process. This data becomes the “baseline” levels that the plants will initially grow in. From this point, the routine testing will follow the effects of the cultural management practices to determine if adjustments should be made.

Irrigation Water Testing

Irrigation water testing is also very important for intensive agriculture production. The raw irrigation water may require treatment, such as acidification, in order to provide the best water for irrigating the crops being grown. Testing of the fertilizer solutions used at the nursery determines if the fertilizer materials are correct and being measured accurately and dispensed at the proper rates.

Guidelines For Tissue Sampling In Various Berry Crops

CropNumber of LeavesPlant Part (leaf)Time of Year
Blueberries30Mature new growthBeginning in Early summer
Blackberries15Leaves from midshoot current seasons growth flower clustersBeginning in Early summer
Raspberries15Most recently matured leavesBeginning in Early summer
Strawberries10Leaves from most recently maturedFlower bud start

Plant and Soil Appraisal Packages for Berry Crops

Pricing below includes recommendations
R = Recommendations

Complete Water or Fertilizer Solution Analysis



pH, Electrical Conductivity, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride,
carbonate, bicarbonate, sulfate, nitrate nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen, phosphorous,
boron, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, silicon, molybdenum.

Includes Target
values for some crops.

(If fertilizer tank amendment reccomendations are
desired, include fertilizer recipe consultation package)

Agricultural/ Berry Pre-plant Package



Complete chemical analyses for mineral soils. Beneficial for pre-planting in agricultural settings;

pH, electrical conductivity, nitrate nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium,
magnesium, sulfate and boron from saturated paste extract; DTPA extracted zinc, copper, manganese, iron,
saturation percentage, calcium plus magnesium, sodium, chloride, SAR, ESP, Organic Matter

General Soil Health Package



Our most commonly ordered test package. Provides information on soil health and fertility.
pH, electrical conductivity, nitrate nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium,
magnesium, sulfate and boron from saturated paste extract
DTPA extracted zinc, copper, manganese, iron
Sodium and Chloride.

Substrate Growing Media 



Complete chemical and physical analyses for potted plant media/ substrate;
pH, electrical conductivity, nitrate nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium,
calcium, magnesium, sulfate and boron from saturated paste extract
DTPA extracted zinc, copper, manganese, iron, Sodium and Chloride, and Porosity and
Moisture Holding Capacity of Substrate Growing Media, and Cation Exchange Capacity

Complete Plant Tissue Elemental Analysis



N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, B, Zn, Cu, Mn, Mo, Na, Si

Choose a Testing Package

Download the Submission Form

Please fill out the form and include the following information with your sample:

  • Name
  • Address and phone number
  • Email Address
  • Planting Situation i.e. Established / New Garden, New Homesite
  • Sample Identification
  • Conventional or organic fertilizer recommendations
  • Test Package
  • Additional information about sample i.e.: any problems or concerns
Click to Download

Schedule routine laboratory testing for your berry crops