mapple treeStress affects plants and landscapes equally. Plants become susceptible to insects, diseases and environmental problems when under stress. The best way to control stress in plants is to go proactive and prevent or mitigate the stress factors.

There are specific environmental conditions that work as stress factors include drought,  wind, low humidity, light, and clay soils.

Soil is critical to the plant health. Soil is primarily responsible for majority of the plant problems.

Clayey soil should be considered as a factor while selecting suitable trees for your garden and landscape. Clay soil tends to hold onto iron, and some trees are not able to absorb the amount iron needed for their health because of this clay-iron affinity.

One solution is to select a tree that requires less iron for its metabolic processes. Some trees that do well in clay soils include green ash, white ash, bur oak, English oak, tartarian maple and big tooth maple. Most of the other maples, along with flowering dogwoods, crabapples, boxelders and pin oaks tend to suffer from some level of iron chlorosis, or yellowing of leaves, caused by iron-deficiency stress.

Supplementing or amending the soil with a chelated iron product is a good alternative. This might reduce the effects, but is an ongoing and long-term process to maintain plant health.

Chelated or stabilized iron products can be obtained from any number of local nurseries and greenhouses. It is applied around the tree’s root zone via small holes, following package directions. Foliar applications of iron also can be used, but need to be applied multiple times during the growing season. These sprays can stain sidewalks and other surfaces and could harm some plants. It is impractical to use this method on large trees using small home sprayers.

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