Apple Doctor

Accessibility


| Share

Iron Deficiency

Hosts:  Freeman maples, silver maple, river birch, Swedish columnar aspen

Authors:  Esther McGinnis and Kasia Kinzer

Symptoms

  • Leaves turn yellow-green or bright yellow but veins remain green (interveinal chlorosis)
  • In severe cases, leaf margins may turn brown and appear scorched
  • Symptoms first appear on newest leaves at branch tips
  • Over time, twigs and branches may die back from the crown
  • Eventually, the tree may die if the iron deficiency persists for years

Fig 1 Iron Deficiency
Figure 1:
River birch leaf with interveinal chlorosis (Esther McGinnis, NDSU)

 

Fig 2 Iron Deficiency
Figure 2
: Branch dieback on silver maple (Joseph Zeleznik, NDSU Extension)

Management and other important facts

  • This abiotic disorder is caused by an iron deficiency that is associated with alkaline soils, cool temperatures, and wet soils; these conditions render the normally abundant iron in North Dakota soils as unusable by the plant
  • Foliar sprays of chelated iron may provide quick green-up of the foliage but this treatment is temporary and trees do not always respond
  • Iron chelate products may be applied to the soil or injected into trees for longer lasting relief
  • Broadcasting soil acidifiers such as elemental sulfur or iron sulfate onto the soil surface may lower the soil pH; gradually converting the iron in the soil into a usable form by the plant
  • Replace iron-deficient trees with individuals that are better adapted to alkaline soils

 

 

This website was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant 14-SCBGP-ND-0038.
Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.