Copper (Cu) is another interesting micro-element that doesn’t get much attention, it is a topic of great interest in agriculture as new understandings have been formed for recognizing deficiencies and how new soil analysis techniques have diversified corrective procedures.
Copper plays a crucial role in cell wall formation and lignification, Cu works by assembling elements that are needed for plant growth, without its presence plant processes cannot fully take place.
Copper deficiencies are not easy to diagnose and are generally confused with overfeeding or a Calcium deficiency. The difference to observe here is that the leaflets will take on a blue hue (centered) spreading outwards, leaf margins remain green progressing to darker green with tiny mottled rusty (orange) spots, the blue hue eventually becomes darker (grey) and leaflets/petioles continually twist, curl and snap if nothing is done to correct the problem.
When studying the mobility of nutrients, we find that copper is one of the most immobile nutrients which means a plant cannot translocate this specific element which means copper deficiencies are best amended by foliar feeding.
- Copper is essential for the production of chlorophyll and synergizes many other plant processes.
- Excess presence of Iron, manganese & zinc antagonize Coppers availability.
- Copper is a positive ion (Cation)
- Essential for photosynthesis
To correct any potential copper problems foliar application of a balanced mix of micro-elements is the quickest fix, foliar application is also 10-12 times more effective than root uptake.Going forward after correction if you did have the problem, try to keep an eye on the pH and EC of your nutrient solution, write down the data each day then if there is a problem that presents itself we can use the data to correct the problem.
Never overfeed or give plants elements they do not require for the specific phase they are in.