MSU seeking assistance in establishing baseline nutrient data for chestnuts

Chestnut growers are encouraged to submit information related to their nutrient management and irrigation practices as well as tissue analysis results and yield data.

Actively growing terminal chestnut shoot
Actively growing terminal chestnut shoot—note the end growth is still bright green, succulent and flexible, indicating ongoing growth. Photo by Erin Lizotte, MSU Extension.

In an effort to correlate on-farm practices to chestnut yield and quality, Michigan State University is seeking input from chestnut growers. Specifically, the project aims to use nutrient tissue testing data, on-farm practices and yield/quality data to identify best practices and establish baseline tissue nutrient values that help identify deficiencies. Growers can participate in two different capacities: by submitting historical data, and by committing to test and report in the coming years. 

Submit historical data

Growers who have previously conducted tissue nutrient analysis on their farms are asked to complete this online survey for each year the analysis was conducted. The survey will ask you about specific farm practices as well as crop yield and quality, so please be prepared to answer those questions before beginning.  

Plan to test in the future

Though most farms are likely past the ideal window for sampling in 2019, growers should consider participating by sampling next season. Sampling chestnut leaf tissue for analysis is similar to protocol in other crops, with a few important caveats.

  • Collect samples from this year’s new growth before vegetative terminal growth stops for the year. Terminal growth typically stops in early August as the trees start developing burs. Samples taken after terminal growth stops will not be accurate.
  • Collect five to 10 leaves per tree from multiple terminal branches. Sample along the length of the new growth on not just select the outermost leaves.
  • Carefully read the protocol from the testing facility you plan to utilize to ensure you receive a valid report.

There are many labs that provide leaf analysis testing, a few are listed here for your convenience:

For more information on the general protocol for nutrient sampling, refer to the MSU Extension article, “Time to collect leaf samples for nutrient analysis.”

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