iron deficiency in mandarin?

mulleniumMay 3, 2011

does this look like an iron deficiency?

gold nugget mandarin, planted a few months ago.. was watering it initially at 4 gallons once a week, then jumped to twice a week..

i took it off my drip watering system now since its probably acclimated enough to water by hand like my other trovita orange..

only fert used is fish emulsion and some B-1

if it is Iron, would liquid Iron foliar spray do the trick?

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It looks more like a manganese problem to me, or possible sun burn?

I am not sure of what kind of soil you have, or even if it has nutrients in it already like mine does. If that is a dead soil, devoid of most nutrients, especially one that provides calcium, manganese, immediate nitrogen, and or iron, I would not rely solely on FE since the amount delivered at that ratio can be almost nil as compared to a well prepared balanced formulated fertilizer specifically for citrus trees or some that are perfect all around like Foliage Pro.

You would probably be the best judge for ground fertility and you could even have it tested.

But honestly, it does not look like iron deficiency and I would make really sure it is before spraying iron all over it. I would also find out why the roots are not providing enough of any type nutrient too.

Goodluck and make sure your little tree is not in full hot Arizona sun since one that size can burn so easily if not burn or collapse from heat exhaustion. Do you spray FE or any other product on your leaves just before the hot sun. How how much FE do you use at any given time? What is your dosage per what?

Have a goodnight and hopefully someone well versed in ground plantings can come along and hit your problem dead on.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 9:59PM
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looks a lot like zinc deficiency, maybe magnesium. use an all around fert that includes trace elements.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 5:07AM
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Mull, it's not an Iron Deficiency..

I agree with could be a manganese deficiency.
It's definately lacking a mineral but not iron.

Fish Emulsion is is a great organic fertilizer, but instead of using it solely, alternate with another fertilizer that contains minerals.

Have you ever tried Citrus Fertilier? Toni

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 1:57PM
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I had a very similar issue with my potted Mandarin, same color and pattern on leaves. I re-potted it, gave it a 24-8-16 fertilizer and some Iron Chelate mixed in. It seems to be clearing up now. I believe though the issue is mostly due to high PH water. I am trying to water with diluted fertilizer and white vinegar at least once every 2 weeks.

Also been mulching all my container plants with used coffee grounds and pine bark.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 2:11PM
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Mull, what does the pink bark do?Do grounds attract insects? Ants, not plant bugs.
I'm a tea drinker..Do tea grounds work like coffee?
I've heard coffee grounds help with acidity, but some people say it's not a good idea.
One last question. Are your citrus in pots or in-ground? Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Hi Toni!

I must say that I agree with you too!
Iron defficiency can often be seen in new leaves with green veins and brighter color around them.

How have you been. I know that your trees are absolutley beautiful from what you have shown me. Bravo!

I know that coffee grounds in teh mulch pile attrack earth worms more than honey attracks

Have a great weekend and be safe


    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 3:23PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hello Hopeful Author,

You mentioned Citrus Fertilizer. Is that a brand name, or is it just a type of fertilizer?



    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 5:15PM
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Hi, I use Espoma Citrus Tone and use the liquid Iron when I see the yellowing leaves and veins. I usually see fast results with the liquid Iron. I overwinter my meyers lemon inside in a southern exposure window and sometimes scale is a problem. I don't know why but I found that spraying it all over with all season dormancy oil really resulted in dark green leaves also.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:53PM
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thanks for the input guys.. i decided not to give it iron.. just reduce on the watering and see what happens..

hopefulauthor: the bark is cedar mulch and the plants are in ground... i occationally use coffee grounds on some of my other plants like grapes and my apple tree.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 12:46PM
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If you feed your tree with a well balanced fertilizer in which the nutrients are readily available and the pH for your tree is fine, it should reverse to green once again.
Please, do not over feritilize since this can burn your leaves and cause die back.

Please. Also make sure about your watering habits and sudden changes in enviroment. Did you know that citrus trees can burn in very sunny hot temps too? Especially the bark?



    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 2:26PM
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Looks like micro nutrient deficiency. This is commonly caused by alkaline (hi-calcium) soil, subsoil or water. If this is the case, the best solution is to start checking for the cause before feeding more minerals (which will only become unavailable). The water is easy to check with a pool test kit. Sometimes it is buried building materials (concrete). Look for small pieces of natural limestone. Or it may be alkaline clay (look for yellow clay in the subsoil).

While you're doing this, spray with a solution of 2 tsp. each of the following; Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), Zinc sulfate, and manganese sulfate in 1 gal. reverse osmosis water.

The magnesium may not be unavailable but just swamped out by an excess of calcium.

A polymeric spreader sticker can be helpful. Especially if
a tsp of ferrous sulfate is added.

You will probably not find manganese readily available except where palm trees are sold in large numbers.

Some micro nutrient sprays for citrus are available. Southern Ag makes one sold in the gulf coast region.

EDTA chelated chemicals are not effective.

Long term solution is addition of soil sulfur. This is hard to do without soil samples. It is easy to go too far and have a worse problem.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 2:59PM
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If you use ferrous sulfate as a foliar spray, do not use more than 1 tsp per gal. The spreader sticker is necessary to keep from getting burned leaves when the spray beads up and then concentrates as it dries. I have used molasses at 1-2 tbs per gallon also when black sooty mold is not a problem.

Ferrous sulfate is iron++ or Fe++ and is sold as copperas in garden stores.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 3:23PM
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Hey Mike..How ya doing?

Thanks, and the same with your Citrus..They're Beautiful. Are they outside yet?

Vivian. I meant, citrus fertilizer in general. There are a few brands on the market..I can't get it locally, so it has to be ordered online.
I buy on Ebay or Briteleaf.

Like TMC, I use Epsoma, but also add a balanced fertilizer in-between. Epsoma is slow-timed-release fertilizer. Supposed to last 3 months.
But like Mike said, never over-fertilize..Over-fertilizing will do more harm than benefit.

Mull. Coffee grounds are supposed to acidify soil. It's natural and organic. Since citrus require acidic soil, what harm can it do?

I don't know if anyone here remembers the old Victory Garden was James Underwood Crockett.
He was also an author. Wrote a few plant books.
I respect this man, and deem him a wonderful indoor/outdoor gardener.

It was one of his books that urged me to add Iron on certain plants..Citrus, Azaleas, etc.
He suggests adding Iron 3 times a year, as a Chlorosis preventative.
Since I started using Iron...plants never had Iron/Chlorosis deficiency...Toni

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 5:28PM
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Hey Toni!

We have some catching to do! I have been under the weather but will explain to you soon:-)

Good to see you here again.

Yes, I did put them outside, but then the very cold rains moved in and cold nights, and then they all started turning yellow on me.
Too cold. I had to lug them all back into the greenhouse, and after a couple of days in there with temps above the high 40's into the 50's, they greened back up again.
I have had to do this over a dozen times since then. It seems that every time I get a nice warm day and put them outdoors, the very next day it clouds up and the cold weather moves right back in for days on end. It is quite challenging. So Now I am going to keep them in a stable environment where the low temps get no lower than the 50's until nights outside match that for more than one day in a row.

Thank you for caring.

Good to see you again and be safe.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 8:50PM
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