Chlorosis in Trees: Signs and Solutions

We usually expect to see trees with yellow leaves early to late fall in Salisbury. During other times of the year, yellow leaves can suggest something’s wrong with the plants. If you are doing everything right and can’t think of something that might cause a problem, it might be chlorosis in trees.

When something like this happens, locals consider tree service in Salisbury by Frady Tree Care Specialists. We have the knowledge, skills, and equipment to deal with various tree diseases, conditions, and changes, so rest assured that you are in good hands. 

Read on to learn about the signs and possible causes of chlorosis and available solutions.

What Is Chlorosis in Trees?

Chlorosis is a tree condition that manifests with the yellowing of the trees. A lack of chlorophyll is the leading cause of the disease.

Chlorophyll is the “green” substance that plants incorporate from the sun’s energy and the nutrients and water from the root system. These elements are what make tree leaves green during spring and summer.

What Else Might Cause Chlorosis in Trees?

Leaves turn yellow when a tree doesn’t incorporate chlorophyll and takes in insufficient nutrients. The possible causes for this issue are:

  • Root damage from nearby trees or pipes
  • Iron, zinc, sulfur, and manganese deficiencies in the soil
  • Compacted soil
  • High levels of organic matter
  • Alkaline soils (when the pH level increases above 7.0)
  •  Insect infestation
  • Disease or bacteria

Chlorosis stresses trees and plants, damages their leaves, and reduces their energy levels. If left untreated, it results in:

  • Low flower and fruit yield
  • Stunted growth
  • Increased susceptibility to diseases and pests

Common Signs of Chlorosis

Yellowing leaves is the first sign of chlorosis in trees. However, when leaves turn yellow, it can also suggest another problem, such as nutrient deficiencies and heat stress. When tree experts say “chlorosis,” they refer to an iron deficiency that causes leaves to be yellow.

Another symptom is stunted growth. Trees with chlorosis will stop growing due to the lack of chlorophyll in the leaves, preventing further growth.

Why Do Some Trees Don’t Get Enough Nutrients?

With iron chlorosis, the issue might not be an iron deficiency in the soil but the tree’s inability to absorb that iron. When a soil’s micro and macronutrients are present, the pH of the soil affects the nutrients’ availability.

Some soils are more alkaline or acidic, depending on the region’s climate and geologic history. The pH scale varies from 1 to 14, with seven being neutral. A ph range from 5.5 to 7.5 is the best pH scale for growing various trees, shrubs, and crops.

For example, pin oak and red mapletrees prefer alkaline conditions and might develop chlorosis in less acidic environments.

How to Treat Chlorosis in Trees?

While chlorosis in trees sounds scary, there are a few ways to treat it. You might need to repeat the treatments for better results.

The best way to ensure long-term tree health is to select species that adapt to the native soil’s pH. If you have plants that aren’t native or need more mineral nutrients, here is what you can do:

  • Apply chelated iron to the soil
  • Apply elemental sulfur to reduce pH of soil
  • Inject tree trunks using iron sulfate
  • Spray foliage with chelated iron or iron sulfate

Give Frady Tree Care a Call

If you notice any signs of chlorosis in trees, give our professional team a call. We are proud providers of Charlotte’s top-rated tree-health services and can design a program that addresses your lawn’s specific needs.

Contact Frady Tree Care today at (704) 644-2516 to schedule an appointment.


Frady Tree Care has the most reliable and professional tree services in the Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Clemmons & High Point, NC areas! Our team is a third-generation certified and fully-insured arboriculture firm. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we are the tree service experts you can trust.


Charlotte Office

8640 Charlotte University City Blvd.  Suite A3-241        Charlotte, NC 28213
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Lexington Office

402 W. 4th Avenue,    Lexington, NC 27292
Phone : (336) 236-1006

Salisbury Office

1460 Henderson Grove Church Rd,
Salisbury, NC 28147
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Winston-Salem Office

1035 Shalimar Drive.      Winston-Salem, NC 27107
Phone : (336) 236-1006

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