Yellowing Leaves – Interveinal Chlorosis

Yellowing Leaves - Interveinal Chlorosis Sweet Gum

Interveinal Chlorosis on SweetGum Leaf

Are your leaves turning yellow? Since it’s too early in the year for leaves to begin changing color and falling, the yellowing of your tree’s leaves is most likely a sign of lack of micronutrients.

Micronutrients are elements needed in small amounts to keep a tree healthy and promote growth/development. Micronutrients include iron, manganese, copper, zinc, molybdenum, and boron. Iron and Manganese are the two micronutrients that are commonly deficient in landscape trees and shrubs.

Because iron and manganese are required for the production of chlorophyll and photosynthesis, a lack of these micronutrients will make the tissue of your leaves turn yellow. This is called Interveinal Chlorosis


Susceptible Trees & Shrubs

Most trees, shrubs, and plants can experience Interveinal Chlorosis; however, our arborists warn homeowners to keep an eye on your Rhododendron, Azaleas, Redbuds, Plum, and Aucubas.

Iron Chlorosis

Iron deficiency susceptible trees:

  • Oaks
  • Azalea
  • Rhododendron
  • White pine
  • Magnolia

Manganese deficiency susceptible trees:

  • Birch
  • Dogwood
  • Maples
  • Flowering cherry
  • Sweetgum
  • Crabapple

Yellowing Leaves - Interveinal Chlorosis (2)

Symptoms of Interveinal Chlorosis

  • If you tree or shrub has interveinal chlorosis their leaf tissue will become pale and yellowish; however, the veins will still look green.
  • Twig dieback, especially at the top of the tree (only in severe cases)
  • Branch dieback (only in severe cases)
  • Secondary Invader Infections

Need Help With Interveinal Chlorosis?

Or Call 703.573.3029


Yellowing Leave - MicronutrientsTreating a Micronutrient Deficiency

To treat an iron or magnesium deficiency you need to introduce these micronutrients back into the system of the tree. Fall is the best time to reintroduce these nutrients. Adding these back in during fall gives time for the micronutrients to break down over fall & winter allowing them to be easily used to push out a flush of new green growth in the spring.

Soil Test: In certain situations, typically when dealing with older mature trees, soil samples will need to be collected and examined. This will allow us to prescribe a custom mix of micro and macro nutrients specific to your tree’s deficiency.

Soil Amendments & Trunk Injection: To combat interveinal chlorosis Micronutrients can be applied through soil amendments or trunk injections depending on the location and species of the tree or shrub.

If you think your tree has interveinal chlorosis schedule an appointment with one of our arborists by using our online booking system or calling 703.573.3029.

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Samantha Huff

Samantha Huff is the marketing coordinator at RTEC Treecare. She enjoys learning about the technical aspects of trees and the insects and diseases that prey on them. She hopes that these articles can help homeowners gain control of their tree and shrub maintenance by being aware of the signs and symptoms of unhealthy trees.

One thought on “Yellowing Leaves – Interveinal Chlorosis”

  1. Joe says:

    We see a lot of this up in Northern California with our tree service calls. I also think the change of seasons and weather is throwing Mother Earth into a flurry! Although it looks sort of cool with the bright colored veins, it’s sad to see our beuatiful trees in the foothills take a hit.

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