The Q&A Archives: Iron For Tomato Plants

Question: I just planted new tomato plants in my garden, I first tested my soil for phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen and ph level all came out within the recommended levels. I've worked the soil, added mulch and fertilizer. My garden is in full sun and water daily. After just one week my tomato plants look like they are dying. Could lack of iron in the soil do this?

Answer: I think that is unlikely. Your plants are probably suffering from transplant shock. Try to provide them with temporary protection from the hot afternoon sun until they get established. Ineffective watering is a big problem with tomatoes. Be sure that water is reaching through the entire root zone, not just moistening the top inch or so of soil. Let the water soak slowly and deeply; don't "sprinkle." As the plants mature, the water should reach 12 inches deep, which is the depth of the root system. When transplanting, "harden off" plants by setting outside for a few hours per day in a sheltered location, gradually increasing the time over a period of 7-10 days. This helps reduce transplant shock. Iron deficiency shows up as yellow leaves with obvious green veins and is not a significant problem for tomatoes.

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