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The Garden View: How to battle chlorosis that can ruin your plants

Chlorosis on a leaf. | Creative Commons
Chlorosis on a leaf. | Creative Commons

Summer’s here and “The Garden View” is taking a look at all aspects of working in the mud. This week, how to combat chlorosis that can turn your green garden into an ugly mess.

This summer’s heavy rain has resulted in lush gardens for most of us, but some trees and shrubs are turning chartreuse or yellowish instead of the normal green. This yellowing, called chlorosis, has been noticeable on some maples, oaks, viburnums, roses and other plants.

Chlorosis is not a disease but a symptom of many plant problems. It is an indication that the plant is not able to produce enough chlorophyll, the chemical that makes leaves green and plays a major role in capturing energy from the sun.

This condition may occur when soil is saturated with water that blocks roots from absorbing oxygen. Blocked roots cannot absorb essential nutrients such as iron and magnesium. Alkaline soil, which is common in the Chicago area, can also be a contributing factor to chlorosis. Certain kinds of trees and shrubs are more vulnerable to alkaline soil and iron deficiencies than others.

The situation will correct itself with most trees and shrubs as the soil dries out. In extreme situations, an application of nitrogen or nitrogen and sulfur-based fertilizer may provide a short-term solution.

This content was submitted by a member of the community. We’d like to hear from you, too! To share stories, photos, video or events for our calendar, please email Community News Manager Michael Cronin at michael@aggrego.com or use the online submission tool.

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