Onion Tops Turning Yellow

John11840(z6/CT)May 2, 2006

After several years of having mixed results with onion sets, I decided to try plants this year. I think I followed the directions - 4" deep trench, 10-20-10 fertilizer in bottom, 2" of soil, then the plants. They did great for about 2 weeks. We've had a dry spell recently, so I've been watering them with a soaker hose about every other day. Now they are looking sick. The tops are turning yellow. Is this normal? Did I do something wrong? Can they still be saved? Any good advice would be appreciated.


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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

Yellowing tops aren't normal for onions at this time of year. Depending on how long the soaker is going, every other day sounds like a bit too much water for the onions at this time unless your soil drains very quickly. It could also be fertilizer burn on the roots as they grow but I'd guess water first.

I'm in about the same zone as you (and definitely dry) and I'm watering once a week for 5-10 minutes with a hoze end wand. I planted plants around 4/10 and it took the first couple of weeks for them to grow roots and now they are greening and starting to produce the first new growth. Try not watering until Friday at least and see if they start to recover.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 5:36PM
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Thanks Makalu. The last 2 days of rain probably didn't help the over-watering situation. Hopefully, it will dry out this weekend. Should I start the high nitrogen fertilizer soon?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 10:04AM
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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

If your soil is well amended in addition to the fertilizer that you applied at planting time, you may not need the high nitrogen stuff. If you're going to apply it, any time from now until the middle of June is good for our area ... much past that and I've found that the onions don't seem to size up as much and don't keep as well.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 1:14PM
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Thanks for the good advise, Makalu. It looks like my onions have turned the corner and are starting to green up and grow.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 2:06PM
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