How to Fix Iron Deficiency in Soil: Reasons + 4 Quick Fixes

Iron is one of the essential nutrients the plant needs for photosynthesis and is abundant in your soil.

Just like other essential nutrients like nitrogen, calcium, and potassium iron deficiency can severely affect plant health.

However, when your soil p.H shifts toward the alkaline range, this mineral starts to decrease, causing iron deficiency in your plants.

Well, how can we know this? Is our soil pH alkaline, or are our plants facing an iron deficiency?

A simple answer to this question is that when your plant’s new leaves start turning yellow, but its veins still appear green, it is facing chlorosis or an iron deficiency.

It is a common disease in plants, and as its name “lime-induced chlorosis” suggests, it is caused by alkalinity due to calcium salts present in our soil, which remove iron and affect our plants’ health.

This article will explain its causes and how to fix iron deficiency in soil.

Quick Fixes Of Iron Deficiency in Soil

Importance of Iron in Plant Growth

Iron is one of the essential nutrients required by living things, and plants need iron for oxygen movement, enzyme production, chlorophyll manufacturing, energy transfer, and overall development.

When iron is deficient in the soil, your plant’s roots will absorb iron in a limited amount, severely affecting its nitrogen metabolism, which is responsible for your plant’s development.

Without nitrogen, a vital plant nutrient, plants’ health will deteriorate.

Without nitrogen, a vital plant nutrient, plants’ health will deteriorate, it’s also important to check if your soil has too much nitrogen.

Iron also plays a vital role in plants’ chlorophyll production, which is essential for photosynthesis and responsible for food preparation and the plant’s green color.

Without chlorophyll, the plant will neither grow nor appear green, which gradually leads to its loss.

Signs of Iron Deficiency in Soil

The first and most common sign of iron deficiency in your soil affecting the growth and health of your plant is that your emerging leaf buds or young leaves will start to turn yellow, and you will see your leaf buds or young leaves decay instead of growing.

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A similar issue will be observed in the plant’s bigger leaves as well, where the tip of the leaf will turn yellow and curl, while its base and stem will remain dark green.

It will then slowly turn the whole leaf yellow while its veins will remain green.

When this iron deficiency is at its peak, the veins of the leaf will turn white, and the leaf will have spots and holes in it, and you will observe that your whole plant will start to deteriorate.

Other Significant Signs of iron Deficiency in Soil

Apart from leaves, you can observe the signs of iron deficiency in plant stems, roots, flowers, and fruits.

The plants that face iron deficiency in their flowers will also show a similar pattern in their petals, which will turn yellow at their tips, then get burned or have holes in them.

The fruit of such plants facing iron chlorosis is very bitter. This change of taste in fruits also indicates iron deficiencies in your garden or farming area soil.

Severe necrosis is also observed in plant tissue when they face iron deficiency, where part of the plant affected with iron deficiency will deteriorate, and the remaining will appear healthy.

It is essential to cure this deficiency if you want to save it from loss.

Reasons for Iron Deficiency in Soil

Reasons for Iron Deficiency in Soil

The most significant reason for iron deficiency in your soil is its high p.H.

  • When the pH of your soil reaches above the 6.5 range, it causes several chemical reactions in your soil, due to which it loses its iron and becomes iron deficient.
  • When iron is in less form in your soil, your plant roots will only provide less soil to your leaves, affecting their photosynthesis.
  • It will inhibit your plant’s growth, and symptoms of iron deficiency will start to appear, which will worsen with time.
  • When soil cools down during cold weather, iron-deficient soil further worsens this condition, and you will see most of your acidic soil plants suffer more iron chlorosis during winter.

As most plants prefer acidic soil, such plants with iron deficiency will deteriorate quickly.

Plants affected by Iron Deficiency in Soil

An essential reason for iron deficiency in soil is the presence of calcium salts, like calcium carbonate, which makes its pH alkaline.

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Thus, the plants suitable for this pH will remain unaffected. Plants that need acidic soil, such as ornamental flowers, citrus fruits, herbs, etc., will primarily get affected by it.

Some Plants which are severely affected by iron deficiency in soil are as follows:

Plant namepH Requirement
AzaleaBelow 6
Cucumber5-6
RoseBelow 6
Grapes3 or Below
OrchidBelow 6
MulberryBelow 6
Maple tree5-7
Raspberries5-6
Pears3 or Below
Azaleas6 or below
TomatoBelow 5
Camellias6 or below
Basil6-7

Remedies to Remove Iron Deficiency in Soil

In order to ensure your soil is suffering from an iron deficiency, check the pH of your soil. If it is above 6.5, then reduce it by using numerous methods.

Some of the essential methods to remove and fix the iron deficiency in your soil are discussed below

Method 1 – Increase The Soil pH Level

  • The soil’s extreme pH is the primary source of iron deficiency in it.
  • So the most common method to correct it is by increasing the soil pH by adding acidic material to your soil.
  • However, this is not a practical solution for large gardening areas and might affect your stable plants.
  • By this method, you can add a diluted solution of sulfur pellets or aluminum sulfate to pots or containers with a single plant affected by iron deficiency.

However, ensure it does not decrease its pH below its growing range; otherwise, the plant will not survive.

This technique is mainly applied to plants such as citrus fruits, herbs, tomatoes, roses, or other acid-loving plants.

Method 2 – Adding Fertilizers

  • The second method is the most prevalent for treating iron deficiency.
  • You can achieve it by adding iron-enriched fertilizer to our farming area where the soil is iron deficient.
  • We can add chelated iron or liquid iron sulfate solution to your soil which will improve the iron absorption of your plant.
  • Chelated iron fertilizers have a higher percentage of iron, which can be easily absorbed by plant roots and transported to their leaves for growth.
  • You can also add natural fertilizer like compost or manure to your soil to remove its iron deficiency.

Method 3 – Direct Spraying Using Fertilizer

The third method involves applying a spray of iron fertilizer, either organic or inorganic, directly to its leaves.

  • The most common fertilizer used for this purpose is iron sulfate which we can easily dissolve in water and spray on its leaves to remove the iron deficiency.
  • First, clean your leaves thoroughly with soapy water that is affected by iron deficiency and then spray the iron sulfate mixture on them.
  • The leaves will absorb the necessary solution, and the rest will be absorbed by the soil to remove their iron deficiency.
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This remedy is a short-term solution to iron deficiency in our plants and soil and needs frequent cycles of liquid fertilizer spray to improve the situation.

Method 4 – Compost or Manure Addition to Your Soil

The last and most crucial method to reduce iron deficiency in your soil is to add compost or manure to your soil mix.

Mixing three parts of your soil with one part of well-rotted compost or manure possesses the capability to make an iron-efficient mix.

In your garden, you can add this potting mix to your plants that are affected by iron deficiency by repotting them with this new iron-enriched soil.

Compost or manure is enriched with organic matter that will improve Iron and overall health, and soon your plants will appear healthy.

FAQS of How to Fix Iron Deficiency in Soil

Some of the frequently asked questions regarding iron deficiency in plants and soil are as follows

Q: How Long Would It Take For Plants To Recover From Iron Deficiency?

With advanced chelated iron fertilizer, it will take 3-6 weeks, and with organic fertilizer, it will take several months to see improvement.

Q: How To Check Iron Deficiency In Soil?

You can simply take a pH test of your soil sample. If the value is above 6.5 with symptoms of iron deficiency, your plant suffers from iron Chlorosis.

Q: How To Add Iron To The Soil To Remove Iron Deficiency?

You can add iron to the soil by using its fertilizers, spraying it in liquid form, or adding manure.

Q: Why Is Iron Essential For Soil?

Iron in soil assists the plant in moving oxygen throughout its roots, stems, leaves, and other portions of a plant, providing its chlorophyll essential for its growth.

Q: In Which Type Of Soil Is Iron Present?

Iron is primarily present in acidic soil whose pH is below 6.

Now you know how to detect and fix the iron deficiency in the soil, check below other useful sources.

Final Words

Iron is the micronutrient that is present in the soil for plant growth.

In this article, we have discussed the importance of iron in plant growth, the causes of soil iron deficiency, and remedies to solve the issue of how to fix Iron deficiency in the soil.