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How Do I Add Iron to My Garden Soil?

By Tammy Curry ; Updated September 21, 2017

Iron chlorosis is a symptom of iron deficiency or lack of iron available for absorption in garden soil. The sign of iron chlorosis in plants is yellow leaves with green veins. Iron is necessary for chlorophyll production. Chlorophyll is needed for the absorption of sunlight during photosynthesis. Alkaline soil can prohibit the absorption of iron.

The recommended pH for most garden soils is 7.0, which is neutral. Iron absorption will occur at lower pH values. Organic amendments are available in your local garden center that will lower the pH of garden soil and increase the amount of iron.

Collect soil samples. Use a hand trowel to scoop out a sample of soil and put into a bucket. The samples need to be taken at a depth of eight inches. You need samples from two different sites in your garden. This will provide you with a better gauge of the overall pH of your garden soil.

Test the soil. Follow the directions on the soil test kit. Alkaline soil has a pH over 7.5 and acidic soil has a pH less than 6.5.

Apply lime to the garden. Sprinkle lime over the garden soil. Use one pound of lime for every 100 square feet.

Apply blood meal to the garden soil. Sprinkle blood meal at a rate of 10 ounces for every 100 square feet. Blood meal is an organic fertilizer made from dried, powdered blood.

Mix lime and blood meal into the soil. Use a rototiller to thoroughly mix amendments into the soil.


Things You Will Need

  • Hand trowel
  • Bucket
  • Soil test kit
  • Lime
  • Blood meal
  • Rototiller


  • You can use bone meal, iron sulfate, inorganic iron supplements or iron chelate in granulated form as soil amendments.
  • Use liquid iron spray on foliage for a quick fix.
  • Adding one to two inches of compost every spring will also improve the pH and iron availability in garden soil.

About the Author


Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for textbroker.com. She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.