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When a tree is showing chlorotic symptoms this means the foliage is unable to produce chlorophyll effectively.


A tree is considered chlorotic when the leaves turn partially or completely yellow or pale green with darker green veins. This may occur on a single branch or a large portion of the canopy, depending on severity. Many factors contribute to chlorosis. In southern Wisconsin, a few of the most common causes in trees and shrubs are nutrient deficiencies related to:

Maple, oak and birch are the three most commonly chlorotic trees in the greater Madison area.

Should I Worry About Chlorosis?

Without chlorophyll, the tree's ability to produce and store energy is reduced. This puts undue stress on the tree or shrub, if severe enough. It may not kill the tree or shrub, but without ample energy production the tree is less able to resist disease and drought stress. If you value your trees and want them to thrive, chlorotic signs are certainly cause for action.

Treatments / Management

There are a few treatment options depending on the cause of the chlorosis and the severity.

  1. Alter soil properties to allow proper nutrient uptake. This may involve physical or chemical remediation to the area around the tree towards helping the tree take care of itself. An improvement geared toward the long run.
  2. Trunk infusion of appropriate supplemental nutrients. This is analogous to an I.V. a human might receive in a hospital to immediately improve certain body chemistry problems. This is a short-term solution, with nearly immediate results.
  3. Soil amendments like Biochar, nutrients, biostimulants. These supplements contain elements which will make nutrients available to the tree.

Our Certified Arborists will advise which approach is suitable on a case-by-case basis.