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Copper (Cu) activates enzymes and catalyzes reactions in several plant-growth processes. Vitamin A production is closely linked to the presence of Cu as well, and it helps ensure successful protein synthesis. Classified as a micronutrient, only a small amount of this essential nutrient is needed for plant survival.

Quick Facts

Copper is the most immobile of the micronutrients.

Quick Facts

Many vegetable crops show Cu hunger, with leaves that lose turgor and develop a bluish-green shade before becoming chlorotic and curling.

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Copper is necessary to chlorophyll formation in plants and catalyzes several other plant reactions.

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Other metals in the soil, such as iron, manganese and aluminum, affect the availability of Cu for plant growth.

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Organic soils are the most vulnerable to Cu deficiency; heavy, clay-type soils are least vulnerable.

Dig Deeper: Fertilizer Use Guide

Copper (Cu) activates enzymes and catalyzes reactions in several plant-growth processes. The presence of copper is closely linked to Vitamin A production, and it helps ensure successful protein synthesis.

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Deficiency Symptoms

Symptoms of deficiency can vary across crop species, but similarities exist for how nutrient insufficiency impacts plant tissue color and appearance. Nutrient deficiencies are commonly associated with the physical location on the plant (i.e., whether the symptoms are primarily observed on older versus newly formed plant tissue), but these symptoms can spread as the severity of the deficiency progresses.

All photos are provided courtesy of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) and its IPNI Crop Nutrient Deficiency Image Collection. The photos above are a sample of a greater collection, which provides a comprehensive sampling of hundreds of classic cases of crop deficiency from research plots and farm fields located around the world. For access to the full collection, you can visit IPNI's website.