Iron

Iron, Iron Deficiency, Iron Deficient, Nutrient Deficiency, Mineral Deficiency

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Iron deficiency
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Iron is important to plant health because it makes up the pigment in plants giving them their green colour. It's common in plants with low iron to become 'bleached' because they lack green pigment. Deficiencies of iron in the soil media are uncommon because it's often readily available in the soil. On some occasions, such as when soils are too alkaline or soils originating from chalk and limestone. Too much calcium or phosphorus can also negatively impact iron availability in the soil, but the mechanism behind this relationship is poorly understood.
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Symptoms

Bleaching or yellowing (chlorosis) in plant.
It's the youngest leaves which tend to be affected.
Leaf veins with surrounding areas persist as green.
Plants may begin to look sad or just a little unhealthy.
In severe cases, plants may fail to flower and produce fruit.

Chemical treatment

It's possible to purchase iron compounds called chelates and sequestrenes. By applying these to the soil surrounding the root system, iron can be readily absorbed by the plant. Please take care to follow the manufacturers instructions.

Prevention

If garden plants are lacking in iron, then liming should not be undertaken. This may prove difficult for soils that are highly alkaline. Avoid using fertilizers with high phosphorus content if soils are low in iron. Likewise, plants prone to iron deficiencies should not be supplemented with high concentrations of phosphorus, see below for examples! The addition of organic matter can improve soils lacking iron by making the nutrient more accessible to plants.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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