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Boosting Iron Deficient Plants to Improve Garden Health

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Iron chlorosis

Iron chlorosis is the most common micronutrient problem in plants. It not only causes aesthetic issues with plants, but it can also cause long term problems if left untreated. Utah State University Extension offers some tips to keep plants from experiencing iron chlorosis symptoms.

Chlorosis is caused by plants not being able to extract enough iron from the soil. This is pretty common in Utah soils with some plants being able to obtain iron better than others. The symptoms for this disease can be exacerbated by overwatering or an abundance of certain chemicals in the soil.

Plant leaves will appear yellow, light green, or even white with distinct veins when affected by iron chlorosis. Leaves that are extremely affected can scorch and die during the hot summer months.

Plants that contract iron chlorosis will experience stunted growth for that season. Limbs and branches can begin falling off and dying if the problem persists for several growing seasons.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one clear answer to this problem, and it can often be difficult to treat. One line of defense is to replace struggling plants with iron efficient plants. This can be a good option as the new plant will do most of the work against iron chlorosis, but a wrong selection can result in disappointing and expensive fixes.

Establishing a balanced irrigation schedule is also an important factor. Soil that is under or overwatered changes and iron can become unavailable.

Chelated iron compounds can be used to bind iron and make it more available for plants. EDDHA is the suggested compound to mix and apply around the base of plants. Chelated iron should be applied in the spring to coincide with the first growth of the season.

Stop by the Utah State University Extension office or call (435) 752-6263 if you have any more questions regarding iron chlorosis.

Writer: Jacob Hadfield & Emma Feuz


Iron Chlorosis. Integrated Pest Management, Utah State University Extension. https://utahpests.usu.edu/ipm/notes_orn/list-treeshrubs/iron-chlorosis


Jacob Hadfield

Cache County Extension office