The yellowing of a plant is called chlorosis. Chlorosis most commonly occurs because of a lack of mineral nutrients such as iron, manganese, or zinc. Chlorosis can also occur if the soil is too acidic or too alkaline.
There are several reasons that may explain why plants turn yellow. One explanation is mentioned by jepenna, where the plant is deficient in nutrients, including sulfur, phosphorous, calcium, or nitrogen. Another reason is when the plant is too dry or too wet: when a plant dries up, it will start to decay and colors turn yellow or brown, and, when a plant is too wet, it is receiving an excess amount of water, cannot grow appropriately, and becomes unhealthy. Pests may also be a cause to plants turning yellow, which deprives the plants from its access to nutrients. Not enough sunlight can make plants turn yellow. Some tree leaves, though, naturally turn yellow, orange, or red colors during fall, depending on the tree species.
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