Welcome to Ask the Plant®.

Your solution to the best plant and crop performance by Identifying Visible and Hidden Hunger Plant Nutrition Problems with Petiole (Leaf Stem) and Leaf Testing and Consulting.

Your plants don’t need to be very deficient in available nutrients to seriously impact yield and quality.

But money spent on unneeded fertilizers also reduces your bottom line.

And it does not take much excess of some nutrients to cause serious crop damage. While soil tests are essential to getting your crop started, many things can influence how much and what of the recommended fertilizer you put down actually gets into the plant.

Remember that your plants' nutritional needs are constantly changing throughout the growing season.

The only way you can know and correct nutritional problems before you see them is with Ask the Plant®.

Ask the Plant® is a full–season crop fertility monitoring and consulting program established by the middle 1960s. Development had been going on prior.

The goal of Ask the Plant® is to make you a dramatically superior crop – even under adverse growing conditions.

The Ask the Plant® program includes soil, plant and optionally, irrigation water testing.

Over the years, the success of Ask the Plant® has been proven countless times, over many thousands of acres, in terms of actual field results to growers around the World.

This success is accomplished by allowing the grower to furnish the crop with the correct balance of fertilizers in the amounts the crop needs, when it needs them.

After a fertilizer is applied, many uncontrollable or unpredictable factors can influence nutrient availability to the plant and plant uptake efficiency. These factors include soil chemistry, moisture, temperature, biological activity and diversity, sunlight and others.

Without Ask the Plant®, you will have little idea how much of what of the fertilizer you applied actually got into the plant.

The Ask the Plant® program can result in very significant improvements in crop quality and yields.

A balanced crop nutrition program has been shown to appreciably reduce fertilizer costs by applying only what is necessary at the critical physiological stages of plant development as well as dramatically reducing water requirements and improving drought resistance.

Ask the Plant® identifies plant nutritional deficiencies or toxicities at critical physiological stages of development using leaf or petiole analyses. This laboratory was a pioneer in petiole testing more than 50 years ago.

With Ask the Plant®, crop nutritional problems can be identified seven to 21 days before they are visually detected, allowing deficiencies/toxicities to be corrected before they impact the crop.

Once symptoms of nutritional problems physically appear, your crop cannot deliver its full potential.

The analytical methods used by Ask the Plant® are the standard methods used by most laboratories.

The unique difference of Ask the Plant® is the interpretations and recommendations furnished with every report. Your report will not be only numbers, but will also include a clear guide to improved crop performance.

These interpretations and recommendations were initially based upon agronomy standards that were published in the 1950s. Since the early 1960's, this laboratory has been adjusting those standards to reflect actual field performance, changing soil quality and improved crop varieties. As a result, the standards used by Ask the Plant® today are now proprietary. These plant standards continue to be developed following new research and are periodically adjusted to reflect current field conditions and new crop varieties.

By closely following Ask the Plant® recommendations, it is possible for you to see superior crop performance which no other laboratory can rival, given identical growing conditions.

The other difference is the wide scope of the tests that are a part of every Ask the Plant® report, with particular attention being paid to Micronutrients and Trace Elements. There is much more to plant nutrition than just N–P–K.

In addition to the very many other essential functions that Micronutrients/Trace Elements play in the plant, they are crucial to plant and livestock disease and insect fighting ability. Many common plant and livestock diseases can be traced to Micronutrient/Trace Element deficiencies.

Some crops have special nutritional requirements. Accordingly, we continue to develop special Ask the Plant® tests for some specific crops to address these needs.


How Ask the Plant® Works –

Pre–Season –
Start with an Ask the Plant® Comprehensive Soil Test to determine initial deficiencies or toxicities, and fertilizer requirements. Because the Ask the Plant® Comprehensive Soil Test extracts nutrients in the same way as do plant roots for analysis, it is accurate for every soil type. The test is calibrated (not correlated) to actual plant uptake. If lime was applied in the Fall, or you have calcareous soils, the test will tell you what nutrients have become plant–unavailable or otherwise lost since the Fall test. Turnaround time for the Ask the Plant® Comprehensive Soil Test report is typically five working days after receipt of sample, with the report being sent by E–Mail.

During The Growing Season –
Petiole or leaf samples are taken periodically at various critical times of plant physiological development. This can be from two to four (or more) times a season, depending upon the crop. See our Agronomy Notes for your crop for details.

Ask the Plant® plant analysis report turnaround times from receipt of sample are 24 hours for petioles and 48 hours for leaves, with the report being sent by E–Mail.

The turnaround time for an Ask the Plant® Comprehensive Soil Test report is typically five to seven working days after receipt of sample, being sent by E–Mail.

After Harvest –
Finish the season with an Ask the Plant® Comprehensive Soil Test. This will determine what nutrients have been removed or have become unavailable so you can start planning your next year's fertility program. If you need lime, it will tell you how much you need to put down, immediately.

If you have any questions about any of your Ask the Plant® reports, your Ask the Plant® crop consultant/analyst is available to you by telephone during regular business hours (Central Standard Time).