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Copper Deficient Soil
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This page is designed and written for larger agricultural farming operations, but even for those who have small vegetiable gardens or other types of gardens will also gain knowledge of how copper deficiencent soil could be affecting there garden, the signs of copper deficiency and how to fix copper defiecncy with copper sulfate.


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Introduction To Copper Deficiency & Soils

Copper Deficiency and Home Gardens

Texture, Organic Matter and pH of Soil & The Effects

Signs and Symptoms of Copper Deficiency

Fix Copper Deficiency

**Buy Copper Here For Your Deficient Soil


Introduction To Copper Deficiency and Soils

Copper deficiency, unfortunately has been misdiagnosed and is often not made with confidence and producers are experiencing reduced yield and quality when 1) copper sulfate is required but not applied  and 2) unnecessary applications copper sulfate when copper levels are adequate. We always recommend getting a soil analysis or getting a professional field diagnosis. A simple soil test can range from $6 to $25 depending on how much information you would like to know about your soil. These tests are commonly available at nurseries, agricultural departments, and colleges to name a few places.

Copper is one of the most important and essential nutrients needed for the normal growth and development of crops. This important nutrient is removed in the grain of cereal crops at the rate of 0.05 lb./ac/yr. If you take straw from a field an additional 0.02 to 0.04 lb./ac of copper can be removed.

Some soils are more prone to copper deficiency soils such as organic (peat) soils. Organic soils deeper than 18 inches often respond dramatically to copper fertilization. Moderate to severe copper deficiency is conclusively identified on mineral soils in Dark Brown, Black and Gray-Black soil areas.

Increases in soil fertility require more copper. This is why old methods or old standards are being thrown out. Some things like applications of superphosphate, using nitrogenous fertilizer  and the rotation of cereal crops with legumes are examples of where additional copper may be needed.

Where copper deficiency has been confirmed by soil analysis or field diagnosis, it can be corrected very simply with our copper sulfate pentahydrate.

(Note: For a thorough soil analysis, samples should be taken from both the suspected copper deficient area and an unaffected area and also at depths of 1-6 in., 6-12 in. and 12-24 in. Copper deficiency may exist in the top 6" of soil and yet be adequate in deeper layers. However, in wet seasons, cereal crops may exhibit severe deficiency due to shallow rooting. Normal growth may occur in "dry" seasons.)

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Texture, Organic Matter and pH of Soil & The Effects

Listed are several characteristics such as texture, organic matter and soil pH which can be useful in identifying where copper deficiency may occur.

  • More easily worked soils such as light loamy and deep sandy soils are more likely to become copper deficient compared to medium and heavy clay-type soils.
  • The higher the nitrogen content in a plant there is a longer delay of copper dispersion throughout the plants points of growth like the head, which significantly enhances copper deficiency. Restriction of copper absorption through the roots is also contributed to high levels of iron, zinc, manganese, aluminum and phosphorous.
  • The pH of soil also reduces copper availability, a pH level of 7 and more decrease the available copper in the soil. Although copper deficiency can be present in a pH range of 5.5 to 6.8.
  • Soils containing 6-10% of organic matter are likely to have low plant available copper. Peat soils and mineral soils are likely to face high levels of organic material.
  • Deep sandy and light loamy easily worked soils are more prone to copper deficiency than medium and heavy textured clay-type soils.

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Signs and Symptoms of Copper Deficiency

For optimal yield and for the best produce, a farmer or gardener should have knowledge and know how to observe and treat copper deficiency in their soil. Most farmers and gardeners who are aware of this problem see great and consistent results with flourishing crop yields and plant health.

The first indication of insufficient copper content in the soil is lower yield and quality that is consistently below expectations.

Wheat and barley are examples of crops that have higher copper needs than crops like canola and rye.

Different species of cereal crops can have similar symptoms of copper deficiency. While no visual sign of copper deficiency is present some fields have losses in grain yield of or exceeding 20 percent. Many of the visual symptoms associated with copper deficiency could be confused with insect and frost damage or disease and herbicide injury. Some interactions of herbicides used on crops growing in copper deficient soils have been reported.

 

 

Extent of Copper Deficiency

Symptoms

Slight

Moderate

Severe

Stem melanosis - Dark brown patches out in wheat fields (particularly in Park wheat) that begin to appear at the milky ripe stage. The stems immediately below the head and lower nodes turn dark brown. The head becomes bleached and then turns dirty gray with empty florets and shriveled kernels.

  * *

Aborted heads and spikelets.

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Heads and spikes are nearly normal, but contain many spikelets that are devoid of grain. Anthesis is poor and late. Grain appears shriveled and the endosperm is blackened.

 

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*

Unusually high levels of take-all or "fake-all" like symptoms, particularly in 0slo wheat.

*

*

*

Limpness or wilting at mid-tillering.

   

*

Excessive late tillering and high mortality on late tillers.

 

*

*

Delay in maturity and senescence - Maturity may be delayed for several weeks.

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*

*

Retarded stem elongation. Delay in heading - Non-uniform heading occurs, particularly on light loamy soils where crop emergence and early development is uniform.

 

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*

Head and stem bending - Stem may break 15 to 30 cm below the head.

*

*

 

Retarded stem elongation.

 

*

*

Pigtail - The leaf tip dies and may roll and turn white, sometimes appearing fibrous. Upper one-third or half of the leaf may wither and break abruptly at the healthy part.

 

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*

Increased susceptibility to disease.

 

The presence of ergots in the grain heads, specifically wheat and barley.

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*

*

Pale yellow, curled young leaves at tillering.

   

*

Limpness or wilting at stem elongation.

*

*

 

Probable loss in grain yield (%).

5-20

20-50

50-100

Probable loss in straw yield (%).

N/A

0-15

15-20

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Applications and Methods

You can apply copper sulfate to the crops in a soil or foliar application. The soil application is most preferred because it requires a onetime treatment that can last for many years. If foliar applications are preferred it is most effective when applied during the late tillering stage.

 

Actual Test Preformed

In this test the response of wheat to copper sulfate was observed. The method of application had a great deal in how the crop responded to copper sulfate treatment.

The highest response was observed in these three methods of application; band (50 bu/acre), seed-row (56 bu/acre), and the greatest response was to the broadcast method which added (60 bu/acre).

(NOTE: To perform this test 3 lb. of copper per acre (as copper sulfate) was used in each test method in each field. The control crop of this test had a yield average of 44 bu/acre. All yields where recorded using the average bundle per acre (bu/acre) of each field and its individual method of application for the three year test.)

Direct Soil Application:

Copper sulfate should be applied to soil in rates of 10 to 40 pounds per acre (2.5 to 10 lb./acre of actual copper) by using the broadcast method and incorporating it into the soil. Some farmers have used granular herbicide applicators with some success and as a direct copper sulfate application.

Foliar Application:

When using a spray application timing is crucial. Wheat that was sprayed at the 6th leaf stage was more productive and yielded more per acre than waiting to spray until the late boot stage. Copper deficient soil can cause infertile pollen in the wheat head, which means the wheat will not produce as many grains. The earlier copper is available to the crop the better. This is also good for the purpose that the weather should be cooler during the earlier stages of growth which will help reduce leaf scorching contributed to foliar sprays.

Copper sulfate is dissolved in water to make a 2% solution which can also be buffered with calcium hydroxide. This makes a great foliar application and results in a 0.1 to 0.3 lb per acre of actual copper as a metallic.

 

Listed are some various crops and the response to copper sulfate on copper deficient soil.

Crop

Response

Canary seed

High

Wheat

High

Citrus

High

Carrots

High

Spinach

Medium-high

Corn

Medium-High

Alfalfa

Medium-high

Barley

Medium-high

Oats

Medium

Peas

Medium

Canola

Low

Source: Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Manitoba

Be mindful that copper sulfate corrodes metals that it comes into contact with. Use stainless steel and plastic components for fertilizer and spray applicators. Always wear proper protective clothing when handling and applying fertilizers or sprays.

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Copper Deficency and Home Gardens

(Copper Sulfate is approved by the USDA National Organic Program for organic gardening.)

When you look at your plants do you see leaves that have uniform light green or yellow colors, or leaves that are unusually small? Below are some common signs of copper deficiency.

You might be just be looking for an increase of flavor and sugar content of vegetables and fruits? Copper is the mineral that is scientifically proven to do so, it also increases color intensity and yield of carrots, spinach, onions, corn and cabbage.

If you are a new or even long time gardener you may have heard that copper sulfate kills plants and ought to be kept out of your garden, but did you know that without copper your plants are more prone to airborne fungal disease as well as other plant issues? Not to mention the decrease of the plant’s production and increase of more unflavorful fruits from the plant.

Copper sulfate can be damaging if an excessive amount it used, damaging the roots and leaves. However, if you have heard this and you have not been supplementing your garden with copper sulfate, you are most likely depriving your garden from one of the most important nutrients required for your garden to thrive and to produce healthy fruit bearring plants. A small amount is a necessary component of plant growth. It is recommended to have the soil tested before adding copper sulfate. A simple soil test can range from $6 to $25 depending on how much information you would like to know about your soil. Soil test are often offered by nurseries, agricultural departments, and colleges to name a few places.

If your garden is already infected by plant diseases or “pests” take a look at our “Bordeaux Mixture” page. A Bordeaux mixture not only fights most diseases known to fruit and vegetable plants, but it will also supplement the soil with small amounts of copper. It is not recommended that you try to supplement soil for copper deficiency with an overload of Bordeaux mix OR to control plant disease with just copper sulfate added to the soil. Use a remedy program that will incorporate both Bordeaux mix and soil supplementation.

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When placing an order, the purchaser acknowledges they have taken full responsibility to check and follow local, state and federal regulations regarding application of copper sulfate.  Also, the purchaser assumes responsibility to follow proper handling and safety requirements for the product. The seller is not to be held accountable for any incidents of bodily or environmental harm due to improper handling and application.