Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

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Q: My peach tree is looking anemic. What could be wrong?



A:  I am glad you brought in a soil sample so we could test the soil pH for you.  We discovered your particular soil was alkaline (over 7.0).  Most of our fruit and vegetables prefer a slightly acid soil which is between 6.0 and 6.5.  When the soil becomes alkaline, often there are limitations to the absorption availability of some nutrients through the roots of the tree. Iron is one of those nutrients. It is involved in the manufacturing process of chlorophyll (the green pigment in leaves), which is important in carbohydrate production and it is required for certain enzyme functions. In high alkaline soils, iron is often unavailable to the plant which is why plants will often develop yellow leaves or look anemic. The University of Florida recommends adding chelated iron to the root area of the fruit tree when soils are above 7.0. Chelated iron is basically a type of iron with a special coating on it which will make it more available to the plant when the soil is alkaline. Many of our areas, especially along the coastal parts of Nassau, will have high alkaline soils. Fruit trees, such as your peach tree, could benefit from incorporating chelated iron into the soil around the roots. The directions on the package of chelated iron will provide the appropriate amount to apply.  Please follow the directions on the package as too much chelated iron can cause other problems.  Remember, you can always use less than the label recommendations but NEVER more. The “Label is the Law.”