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The Role of Copper in Fertilizers and Agriculture

Explore copper's critical role in plant growth, its use in fertilizers, and the impact of its deficiency and excess on agricultural productivity.
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Copper is one of these eight important micronutrients essential for plant growth. They perform major roles in crop productivity and improve plant growth over time. It acts as an assistant to continue respiration, photosynthesis, and other plant functions. 

In this article, I will share the complete details of copper fertilizers in agriculture and their importance for plant growth. Moreover, it includes complete insights into the deficiency and overdose effects on the plants and soil. 

Sources of Copper for Plants

Sources of Copper for Plants

Most commonly, the copper is provided to the plants as fertilizers. The natural sources of copper are manure, pesticides, and biosolids. These options contain a good proportion of copper that plays essential roles in plant life. 

Copper is mostly applied to plants as a water-soluble fertilizer. These are immediate dissolves in the plant surfaces and leaves. Besides this, the rocks and the weathering also add to the soil’s content or copper. Sewage water, mining, and smelting also add up the copper content in the soil for plants.

Prominent Roles of Copper Fertilizers In Agriculture And Plant Growth 

In agriculture, copper promotes plant life’s growth and development process. The prominent roles of the copper in plants are as follows: 

  • Chlorophyll Formation

Copper acts as a booster and main element to produce the chlorophyll. The proper formation of chlorophyll improves the functioning of photosynthesis in plants. Chlorophyll is directly Involved in the formation of ATP using copper. It’s helpful to absorb the sunlight and helps in the plant respiration.

  • Metabolism of Proteins and Carbohydrates

Plants also require a system for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates. These proteins are utilized in the plant parts by converting through the anabolism. During photosynthesis, the carbohydrates are also absorbed Within the plants. These are important elements for energy storage within the plants. 

  • Photosynthesis

Copper is important in the process of photosynthesis. They capture the right amount of sunlight and manage the production of necessary elements to continue the process of photosynthesis. 

  • Enzymes Activation

Most of the functions and transformations of elements are formed with the help of enzymes. However, enzyme systems must require activation to perform their duties. Copper provides the activation energy to the plants, making enzymes usable.

  • Synthesis of Lignin

Some of the plant functions and structures require lignin content in it. Copper helps in the formation of lignin Within the plant body. These lignins provide structural importance to the plants.

  • Seed Production

Healthy seeds produce a healthy plant. Seeds are formed using some essential nutrients. Copper is one of the major elements that is required in high concentrations to form a complete seed.

  • Ripening of Fruits

Copper-Ripening of Fruits

Copper is an essential element for the ripening of the fruits. These are important for producing fruit. Besides this, they improve the quality of fruits as well. Fruits produced by the presence of copper contain all the essential nutrients that are healthy and nutritious.

  • Role in Flowering

Copper is the most important component for the flowering. It improves the production of flowering in plants. The presence of copper increases the plants’ flowers. It is also helpful for pollination.

  • Plant Respiration 

Copper Impact’s plant respiration. It’s important for plant growth because, through respiration, plants take up the essential carbon dioxide content that performs various functions in plant life. 

  • Balance of Micronutrients Uptake in Plants

Copper is also important for the uptake of micronutrients from soil. Their absorption or adsorption of the nutrients within the soil is carried out by using water. The presence of copper acts as a plant essential component for the uptake of micronutrients.

Most Useful Types of Copper Fertilizers

Copper can be provided to plants in various forms using natural or synthetic fertilizers. However, the most useful copper fertilizers are as follows: 

Copper Oxysulfate

It’s formulated by the mixing of sulphuric acid and copper oxide to manufacture copper oxysulfate. These fertilizers are available in spherical/granular shapes. These fertilizers can also be blended with water or directly applied to the soil. Besides this, these can be used in the dissolved form with a suitable solvent to provide more benefits to the plants. However, these are not recommended for foliar form utilization.

Copper Chelate

This name refers to the chelated minerals. This fertilizer is useful for the plant’s growth. The copper element is mixed up in this fertilizer form with the other minerals and amino acids. However, these fertilizers are costly. However, this fertilizer is compatible with any other fertilizer.

Copper Fungicide

This fertilizer is present in the liquid form. It’s very useful to control the fungal diseases in plants. These are useful to apply to a wide range of crops. This fungicide is insoluble in most of the solutions. This fertilizer is prominently useful for fighting against plant diseases.

Copper Sulfate

The copper sulfate is prepared with a combination of copper and sulfur. This product is usually found in most of the inorganic acids. These are water-soluble and can be utilized directly in the dry soil. 

Copper Oxide

It’s directly applied within the soil due to its insolubility property. These affect and improve the root uptake through their presence in the soil. It can be challenging to use it because some of the fertilizers utilize it more while some of the plants face starvation. You can use this fertilizer and carrier water to penetrate the soil and be taken up easily by plants.

Impacts of Copper Deficiency and Overdose in Plants

Impacts of Copper Deficiency and Overdose in Plants

Both the deficiency and overdose of copper in plants are problematic for the plant’s growth. That’s why using the right quantities is essential for the plant’s growth. The impact of deficiency and overdose are as follows; 

Effects of Copper Deficiency

  • The deficiency of copper leads to various diseases in the plant parts. It encourages ergot disease in the plant parts. 
  • It introduces the production of small grains in crops. 
  • The tips of the leaves become bluish-green in appearance, and it also affects the overall growth and appearance of the crops. 
  • It affects the blooming of flowers. 
  • Additionally, it makes the plants sterile. 
  • Overall, it lowers the rate of growth in plants. It declines the crop yields. 

Effects Of Copper Overdose

  • The overdose of copper introduces chlorosis in the plant parts. Besides this, its consistency also promotes plant necrosis.
  • It introduces the leaf discoloration.
  • Copper overdose also inhibits the growth of roots. The plants with stunted growth will not grow, and they stop their productivity as well. 
  • It affects the seed germination of the plants. They disturb the structure of roots and root hairs. 
  • Some plants are more sensitive to the high copper concentrations in the soil. It will stunt the plants’ growth and even cause the plant’s death.
  • It alters the soil pH, and this affects the soil fertility. That’s why it increases soil crust acidification.
  • The overdose of copper decreases the amount of carbon within the soil.


Copper acts as a prominent growth promoter in plants. These are helpful for photosynthesis and other important plant functions. It increases the metabolism of the proteins and carbohydrates. However, using the right amount of fertilizers in the soil is important. These act as the main plant life promoter that increases the overall crop production in the plants. These play an essential role in promoting the working of plant part systems for plant development.

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