Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Department name when degree awarded

Soil Science

Committee Chair(s)

D. W. Thorne


D. W. Thorne


Chlorosis of plants from a lack of available iron is one of the most common plant nutrient problems of the calcareous soils of the west. The disease is characterized by a yellowing of the plant leaves and is accompanied, in severe cases, by a partial root death and premature defoliation (3). In addition to reducing growth, the disease greatly reduces the quality and yield of plants.

Many types of plants are affected by iron chlorosis. In Hawaii and Porto Rico rice, sugar cane and pineapple are susceptible, while in California and Arizona, citrus trees are seriously affected. In Utah apples, peaches, plums, prunes, apricots, pears, grapes, raspberries and many ornamental plants are affected (27). The problem of iron chlorosis, therefore, is of great importance to agriculture in the west.

Chlorosis has been studied for more than one hundred and fifty years, but until recently, little progress has been made toward finding the solution to the problem. Although these past studies have not solved the problem of iron chlorosis, they have shown many factors to be closely related to the occurrence of the disease.

These factors include an unbalanced ratio of available manganese to iron in the growth medium (9, 23, 29); chlorotic leaves are high in potassium, nitrogen in the form of ammonia (21), and in ferric iron and are low in total calcium and ferrous iron in comparison with green leaves (12, 13, 14, 17, 25, 26).

The climatic factors of light, soil temperature and soil moisture also appear to be of fundamental importance in chlorosis. It is a common observation that fruit trees are more chlorotic during the early spring when the temperature of the soil is low and the moisture level high. Many investigators have noted that chlorosis tends to be most severe in the poorly drained portions of fruit orchards when water tends to accumulate. However, the work on the affect of climatic conditions on chlorosis has been limited largely to observations.

The purpose of this investigation was to study, under controlled conditions, the effect of light, soil temperature and soil moisture on a lime-induced chlorosis.



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