Tissue tests are a terrific way for growers to determine the nutrient needs of onions and fertilize accordingly. Tissue tests measure nutrient levels and provide recommendations to compensate for deficiencies or excesses of various nutrients. In doing so, tissue tests have the potential to reduce fertilizer costs and excess fertilizer use. With this informative tool, growers can determine how to fertilize according to the onions’ nutrient needs; and, optimal nutrient amounts can be maintained with consistent monitoring to maximize growth and yield (Pettinelli, n.d.).
Onion tissue samples are taken from its root system. These root samples can then be sent to agricultural laboratories to be analyzed about every two weeks. These tests measure nutrient levels and detect nutrient deficiencies. For additional aid in understanding the report, please see Plant Analysis.
Taking tissue tests can be a long, laborious process; however, doing so the right way can be very beneficial to your crop. First, label one paper bag per plot to temporarily store onions in. Second, dig up two onions per plot, and try to include as much of the root as possible (you will need it for your sample). Place the onions in their according bag. To clean the onions, tear off the leaves and rinse the onions of dirt. Then, rinse the onion roots in de-ionized water, remove roots from the onions, place them back in their bags, and send to an agricultural laboratory.
Find a reliable plant tissue analysis lab near you to evaluate your crop.