50 SHADES OF GREEN
WHAT IS GOING ON WITH MY TREE?
Chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves) is a condition that we often see in our area in our maples, red oaks, bald cypress, sweet gums, river birch and ornamental pear trees. Iron chlorosis is fatal to trees if it is left untreated for multiple seasons. Each year that the leaves are chlorotic, they are unable to absorb sunlight sufficiently, therefore the leaves cannot produce the glucose that the trees need to sustain the overall health and vigor of the tree.
When this condition occurs year after year, the tree begins to dieback (as shown in the photo to the right) in the affected areas of the tree. When left untreated, these areas and even the entire tree can eventually die.
Chlorosis can be caused by many different environmental conditions, but the primary cause for chlorosis in our area, is as a result of the alkalinity in our soil. High soil pH prevents our trees roots from absorbing the iron and many other nutrients that are needed and available in the soil, thus preventing the tree to utilize the nutrients it needs to promote healthy leaves.
When the leaves are unhealthy (notice the dark green veins), eventually, the branch in which those leaves are connected to, will inevitably become unhealthy. Eventually, the branches will begin to dieback, which in turn, weakens the branch even more, causing more problems for the entire tree.
Mid-summer is generally when we begin to see iron chlorosis rearing its ugly
face. If this is the first year that you've noticed this problem in your trees, it would be a good idea to have it looked at to see what could be causing the problem. But if you have a tree that's had these symptoms for several years in a row, now is a good time to get a plan in place to help reduce the effects of and prevent chlorosis in your trees in the future. Again, if left untreated, the tree will weaken (which can cause potential branches to break) and the tree will eventually die.
HOW TO HELP PREVENT CHLOROSIS?
-Water during dry spells, but don't overwater. We don't want to reduce root function by over-saturating the roots.
-Mulching is another great way to improve soil conditions underneath the canopies of our trees. As the mulch breaks down, it provides good organic matter that enriches the soil underneath your tree. If possible, avoid using rock in your landscape underneath your trees and plants!
-We have seen this a lot in our area, but be careful not to over-fertilize
underneath your trees. Too much nitrogen can cause chlorosis as well. You can amend the soil to help create healthier growing conditions throughout the drip line of the tree. This will usually be required every year to get the tree what it needs, but it is not always effective on larger trees.
-The absolute best way to prevent chlorosis in our trees is to plant a tree that is tolerant to the high pH conditions that we face in our area. So avoid planting any variety of tree that does not do well in poor draining, alkaline soils.
HOW DO WE TREAT CHLOROSIS?
We have several different approaches that we will use depending on what the primary cause of the chlorosis that your particular tree is facing. Again, chlorosis can be caused by several different environmental factors, so we analyze your tree, the severity of the problem that it is facing, it's location, the environmental stressors that the tree has been under, and we make a plan of attack that best suits the trees needs. Typically, the fall is the best time to make injections, and will generally last up to 2-3 years depending on the severity of the problem.
If you have any questions about your tree, please do not hesitate to give us a call! We are currently accepting new clients, and would be happy to come out to give you a free consultation and estimate for your tree care needs! You can contact us at 620-282-2076 or you can sign up for services here! We will be looking forward to hearing from you!