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Agronomic Services — News Release

FRIDAY, JAN. 7, 2005

Contact: Dr. Colleen Hudak-Wise, section chief
NCDA&CS Agronomic Division, Plant/Waste/Solution Section
(919) 733-2655

Test greenhouse source water and nutrient solutions

RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services urges greenhouse growers to consider having their source water tested as soon as possible to be prepared for the upcoming growing season.

Solution analysis—a test available from the NCDA&CS Agronomic Division—can help growers avoid major problems such as excess salts or high alkalinity. It is a useful precaution, especially if source water has not been tested in at least two years, a new greenhouse has been constructed, or plans have been made to rent someone else's greenhouse.

Greenhouse growers should also consider submitting their nutrient solutions for analysis. Nearly half the source water samples from N.C. tobacco farms and about one in five nutrient solution samples indicate high alkalinity problems. It is advisable to safeguard your investment by identifying this kind of problem early. Additionally, determining nutrient solution concentrations can help make fertilizer use more efficient, assist in healthy tobacco transplant production, and maximize growth and potential yield of various greenhouse vegetables.

Collecting a source water sample is easy. Let the water run for 15 minutes before filling a clean, 16-ounce, plastic bottle. Samples from a nutrient solution should be taken after the fertilizer is thoroughly mixed in.

Solution analysis provides important information on total alkalinity, electrical conductivity, pH, boron, calcium, chloride, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur and zinc. The test costs $4 per sample, is available to all N.C. residents, and provides sound crop management recommendations.

Be sure to provide information about each sample on the solution information form, which is available online at or from your county Cooperative Extension office, agrisupply dealer or NCDA&CS regional agronomist. Label each sample and send them to the NCDA&CS Agronomic Division Plant/Waste/Solution Section along with the information form and appropriate fee.

For additional information on collecting or submitting agronomic samples, call the NCDA&CS Agronomic Division office at (919) 733-2655 or contact the NCDA&CS regional agronomist for your county. A list of regional agronomists and their service areas can be found at


Last Update August 1, 2007


NCDA&CS Agronomic Services Division, Colleen M. Hudak-Wise, Ph.D., Director
Mailing Address: 1040 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1040
Physical Address: 4300 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh NC 27607-6465
Phone: (919) 733-2655; FAX: (919) 733-2837

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