chlorosis in trees

Understanding Chlorosis in Trees: Causes & Treatment

Trees, like humans, require different kinds of vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. When they don’t have access to those nutrients, the plants can die even if other conditions remain suitable. Chlorosis is one such case.

How can you identify chlorosis in trees? Is it treatable? Cherry Hill’s trusted tree service provider answers these questions so you can potentially restore the plants on your property to full health.

The What and Why of Chlorosis

Chlorosis refers to a nutritional ailment common in southern and eastern states, including New Jersey. The disorder causes the leaves of oaks, maples, and certain shrubs to turn yellow, except for the green veins. Sometimes the leaves may turn brown and die, decreasing the plant’s ability to gather nutrients.

This disorder often develops when the plants have a manganese or iron deficiency due to poor soil conditions. Other causes may include droughts, soil compaction, or poor water drainage. Chloroplasts that help with photosynthesis can die off without good-quality soil, turning the leaves yellow due to a lack of chlorophyll.

In some cases, the ground doesn’t lack the micronutrients, but the tree can’t utilize it because alkaline soils prevent absorption. Chlorosis’ green-veined yellow leaves often appear on specific branches but can also affect an entire plant.

Cases Where It’s Not Chlorosis

Before trying to treat chlorosis in trees, you should ensure other causes aren’t producing the yellow leaves. Moreover, remember that the veins of the leaves must be green to rule in chlorosis.

Other leaf yellowing causes include insect or disease issues, overwatering or herbicide overuse, or purposeful breeding. Some tree and shrub cultivators like a healthy golden color to their leaves and ensure the foliage has that color. You may accidentally have such a tree without knowing, especially if it remains that color most of the year.

Chlorosis Confirmed: What Can You Do To Help?

Thankfully, chlorosis is rarely a fatal disorder, though prolonged exposure to poor soil can kill the plant. Moreover, you can often treat chlorosis if you treat its cause.

To determine its cause, you have to rule out other potential factors. Try testing the soil around an affected plant for its iron and manganese content and pH. You can treat alkaline soil and micronutrient deficiencies with soil additives, like sulfur, ammonium sulfate, and chelated iron compounds.

For soil testing, you have to contact your county’s extension agent. They can also tell you other ways to treat your plants, including trunk injections for trees or foliar sprays. While the process can become expensive depending on the cause, you should be able to save your plants.

Can You Prevent Chlorosis in Landscape Plants?

You can attempt to reduce the chances of chlorosis in trees that Kansas State University has noted can be susceptible to it. For example, if you live in an area with highly alkaline soil, you can use additives to increase the pH levels. Mulch can help insulate the ground and provide more water and micronutrients to the plant’s roots.

Ensure that your plants receive at least an inch of water each week. Moreover, planting trees and shrubs resistant to chlorosis can help your yard overall. However, if you favor plants that could be susceptible to chlorosis, watch their leaves for symptoms and act quickly if you see them.

How Arborists Can Help Your Yard

Trees, shrubs, and other foliage have various conditions that can be difficult to diagnose for those inexperienced with plant care. For example, even if a tree has no leaves, that is not an automatic sign of plant death. You can call BumbleBee Tree Service to help you identify and treat diseases like chlorosis in trees quickly and efficiently. Call (609) 352-0499 for top-quality Camden County tree care today.

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