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Leaves on my maple tree have turned yellow, but the veins are green. Is this an iron problem?

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A

Most likely.  Iron chlorosis is the most common micronutrient problem in our area.  There is abundant iron in our soil.  However, due to the high pH (alkaline soil) it is unavailable to some of our plants.  In advanced stages of iron chlorosis, leaves  turn yellow between green veins.  Chlorotic areas may then scorch and die back.  Without iron, the plants cannot manufacture chlorophyll, the green stuff of leaves.  Peaches, apples, raspberries, roses and many other plants are affected by this problem.   Iron chlorosis may be aggravated by heavy soils, overwatering, and high levels of phosphorous in the soil. 
Recommendation: In early spring (before leaf break) apply iron chelate near the plant roots.  If iron chlorosis persists during the summer, spray leaves with a liquid formulation of chelated iron, but never during the hot part of the day.  Follow all label directions.

Posted on 13 Jun 2006

Karl Hauptfleisch
Salt Lake Master Gardener

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