Iron Deficiency

My husband and I love your show. We have English boxwoods that line our sidewalk in our front yard. They have developed an unhealthy yellow hue to them. What is wrong? No one knows what it is. What can we use to correct this problem? They are still growing, but are not as hardy as they have been in past years.

Over the last several years, we’ve all become even more aware of the importance of good nutrition. And what’s interesting is what goes for us, also goes for the plants in our gardens. And just like us, if our plants are experiencing a deficiency in vitamins, minerals or trace elements, they can’t perform at their best.

An example of this is a boxwood that is suffering from a lack of iron which is made apparent by yellowing leaves.

Even though a plant may be getting a well-balanced diet from the major food groups, if you will, like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, it can still suffer from a lack of some of the vital trace elements such as zinc, boron, manganese and iron.

Now iron is essential for the production of chlorophyll. Of course chlorophyll is what turns a plant’s leaf green, so without plenty of available iron, you get a yellow coloration. But there are a couple of things you can do to correct the problem. You can mix a solution of liquid chelated iron and water and apply it directly to the foliage or you can take a granular form and put it at the base of the plant and it will absorb it through its roots. If you’ve diagnosed the problem correctly, you’ll probably see positive results from this treatment within three to four days.