Oak Tree Problem

Asked June 3, 2020, 12:29 PM EDT

Hello, had a client call the office and wants to know what is wrong with her Oak tree. She has only lived in the house for 2 years and both summers the same thing has happened. The leaves are yellow and turning brown, some of the branches are dead. The tree is 8-10 feet from the lake shoreline. She says "It looks like a tree that you would have in the fall". Can you help? Your help is always appreciated!

Gladwin County Michigan

1 Response

The most common nutrient problem associated with chlorosis is lack of iron, but yellowing may also be caused by manganese, zinc, or nitrogen deficiencies.

An oak tree with leaves that are turning yellow could simply be situated in soil that contains a high level of alkalinity. This disorder is commonly known as iron chlorosis and is the result of too little iron being available to meet the nutritional needs of the oak. This occurs most often on pin oaks. The information in the link below will give you helpful information:

Treat Soil: Powdered or granular chelated iron is the best option for soil amendment. Sprinkle it around the root zone of the plant according to package instructions. Phosphorus overload can contribute to iron chlorosis, so if your supplement also contains fertilizer, make sure it's phosphorus free.

If this tree is valuable to you, your best resource for diagnosing and treating your tree is to consult a certified arborist. An arborist is a certified and generally insured expert in trees and their problems. He or she can examine your tree and make recommendations regarding the health of the tree, any needed judicial pruning, and whether or not (in his opinion) it should be removed. You can find a certified arborist in your area here:


Click on "Find an Arborist" at the top of the page; then click on United States from the pull-down menu. Then enter your State and City. This should bring up a list of certified arborists nearest to you. Or you may be able to locate one under "Tree Services" in your local Yellow Pages.