Iron Deficiency

Iron Deficiency in Plants: An Overview


What does it mean by Iron Deficiency in Plants?

Iron deficiency is a very prevalent issue with bedding plants and other spring greenhouse crops. Chlorosis is the most common sign of iron deficiency, and it generally begins at the shoot tips but can spread throughout the plant. Iron insufficiency can be readily confused with nitrogen or magnesium shortage in all but the most extreme instances; thus, a soil or tissue test is required to confirm a suspected case of iron deficiency.

Most natural soils are rich in iron. It comes in two varieties: ferrous and ferric. The majority of the iron is not in a form that plants can easily absorb. Plant roots must draw iron from soil surfaces in order for it to enter their systems. The ability of plants to absorb iron can be influenced by soil ph. Most plants will not have iron shortages in soils with a pH less than 6; however, some plants will become iron deficient at a pH less than 6, while others will not become deficient until the pH surpasses 7.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency in Plants

Leaf chlorosis is the most visible sign of iron deficiency in plants. The plant’s leaves turn yellow at this point, but the veins remain green. Leaf chlorosis often begins at the tips of new growth in the plant and progresses to older leaves on the plant as the shortage worsens. Other symptoms may include poor growth and leaf loss, although they will always be present in conjunction with leaf chlorosis. Iron chlorosis in plants is caused by one of four factors. They are as follows:

  • The pH of the soil is too high.
  • There is an excessive amount of clay in the soil.
  • Soil that is compacted or excessively moist
  • There is too much phosphorus in the soil.

Cool soil temperatures and circumstances that impede air circulation into the soil, such as plastic sheet mulching, compaction, and water-saturated conditions, worsen iron deficiency and chlorosis. Symptoms of iron insufficiency grow increasingly noticeable with time. A soil test or tissue analysis of plant leaves is the only technique to determine if a plant is iron deficient. The exact iron levels in the plant are established via tissue analysis. Plants that are not iron deficient will have an iron concentration of 50 ppm or above in dry matter testing. Soil testing can tell you how to remedy the deficit the best way.

Control and Prevention

The fundamental technique for increasing iron availability in plants is to keep pH values in the acidic range, and the optimum pH range for iron-inefficient crops is rather low: 5.5 to 6.0. Fertilizing iron-sensitive crops with Fe on a regular basis is arguably the simplest and most proactive means of preventing Fe deficiency.

Before amending the soil, it is always better to select plants that will thrive in the area; if iron shortages are frequent, select plants that can resist becoming iron deficient. Soil testing can help you identify the best option for long-term advantages. The sooner iron deficiency is addressed, the healthier the plants will seem.