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is there a way to add iron into dirt? Answered

i am trying to plant a maple tree and i found that it needs quite a bit of iron 

9 Replies

wemja (author)2015-05-08

All gray iron oxide should work since those contain Fe+2

I am pretty sure that almost all gardening stores have iron powder for sale.

Just make sure that you leave at least a few weeks in between adding the iron and throwing chalk on your lawn/plants the chalk slows the iron absorption down since it makes the pH higher.

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Metal_maestro (author)2015-05-09

Surprisingly you can't just add any old iron and be available for use by plants. Chelated iron is the only form of iron that is usable by plants. Some confusing chemistry stuff is the reason for this. A quick search got me this: http://www.amazon.com/Grow-More-7450-8-Ounce-Conce...

One more piece of advice, you may want to find out how much iron is available in the soil to begin with. There's no sense wasting good money paying for fertilizer you don't really need. A soil test is the easiest way to accomplish this. If you live in the United States your local nursery, Master Gardener club, or Ag Extension office may be able to assist you there.

And my last thought is that an iron deficiency typically will not cripple your plants. Iron is what is known as a micro nutrient. The amount generally required is very small in relation to nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, and sulfur. At worst low iron will just leave your foliage a little discolored, a yellow/white if I remember. Good luck to you and happy planting!

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Jack A Lopez (author)2015-05-07

I think the answer depends a lot on the existing chemistry of your soil. I asked Google about, "iron nutrient for plants ion soluble", and it returned this page,


among others.

Just from reading that page, it kind of looks like you want to get iron ,Fe, into soluble Fe+2 or Fe+3. Also it says plants prefer Fe+2 for some reason.

If your soil has very low pH, i.e. it is on the acid-ic side, you could probably just bury some scrap steel, like an old car, next to your treeling, and the steel would electrochemically dissolve and fertilize your treeling with soluble iron.

In the event your soil has high pH, i.e. it is on the base-ic side, then that makes it harder for your plants to absorb iron, for the reason that the iron tends to turn to Fe+3, and Fe+3 is insoluble in high pH soil.

In article linked above, their answer to an iron deficiency seems to be cheap iron(2) sulfate, FeSO4, which will work for acid soil (but not for alkaline), versus various iron chelates that get more expensive the more alkaline your soil is.

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Vyger (author)2015-05-07

That is both funny and sad. Our well water has so much iron in it that it stains the grass and tree leaves red.

I don't know if just throwing a bunch of old nails in the hole when it's planted would work. I do know that they make iron supplement fertilizers but it could get costly. Depending on where you live there might be county ag agents that can help with info like that. They might suggest that you get the soil sampled and tested.

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Jay353 (author)Vyger2015-05-07

would just normal tap water work?

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Vyger (author)Jay3532015-05-07

Mine would because it has so much rust and iron in it already. Municipal water has much less minerals usually. Also my water is very alkali. My water kills things like raspberries because they require an acidic soil. Maple's require neutral soil to slightly acidic.

Here is an article on iron problems and what to do about them.


You can do a Google search and it has all kinds of info.

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