Collection and Preparation Samples
Be sure to use a clean container. Never use a metal container as the metal may contaminate the sample. Generally, two cups of lightly packed material provides a sufficient amount to conduct an analysis; one cup may be sufficient if gathering petioles. If plant samples have soil, dust, fertilizer, or spray residues on them, they will need a light washing, as follows: With aid of a plastic colander, immerse the sample in cool water containing a couple of drops of PHOSPHATE-FREE detergent, and gently agitate for no longer than about 10 seconds. Extended washing may damage the plant tissue and remove some of the soluble elements. Remove the colander and quickly rinse the sample under flowing pure water. Blot-dry with a clean towel. Either air-dry samples for one day (below 176° degrees F) or ship as soon as possible in perforated bags to allow air movement and a degree of drying in transit. Never send fresh samples in sealed plastic bags.