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The use of copper sulphate in plants and seeds


Q. I'm conducting an a-level biology investigation on the effect of copper sulphate on seeds. Could you please tell me whether the copper used in copper piping leads to toxicity in plants and if so how? Also I understand that copper sulphate is required in very small amounts--but what is the purpose of the sulphate ion? What process(es) of respiration in plants does copper sulphate inhibit or assist.

Many thanks,

S. Begum
- London, UK


Q. I too am studying the effects of CuSO4 on seed germination in green beans, (don't ask why green beans) and I have seen very significant effects of CuSO4 on their germination, even at 100 ppm. at 100,000 ppm no growth was seen at all. the reason for this is, as you probably know, that the Cu ions will displace Ca in many enzymes, such as some necessary for the mobilization of starch, and some others. I would like to hear from you about what you are doing.. might help me out loads.. and I'll send you what I am finding out.

Damian Okrucinski
- Singapore

Stability of diluted Copper Sulphate

June 23, 2015

Q. I am experimenting with copper sulfate vs "home" / "organic" remedies for powdery mildew on my ornamentals (peonies, roses, etc.) and vegetables (such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, etc.). Using a commercially prepared liquid copper sulfate (Bonide, specifically), I would like to know how long the diluted spray remains stable enough for use? In other words, can I mix up a batch and store it in a dedicated sprayer for easier, less time consuming use? The information is not on the product label. Thanks!

Merle Miller
hobbyist gardener - Cincinnati, Ohio

June 2015

A. Hi Merle. Copper sulphate is simply CuSO4.5H2O, and mixing it with water it should last forever -- although you might have to shake it before use. Good luck.


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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
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