Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Growing cannabis is a bliss, a pure joy when flowers are ready for harvest. But while you are on this joyful ride, you may run into some problems. One of the problems being your plant becoming copper deficient. Copper is a micronutrient that cannabis plants need in a low quantity for different processes. For instance, cell formation, carbohydrate metabolism, enzyme synthesis, etc. Moreover, copper has a crucial role in photosynthesis. If a cannabis plant has copper deficiency, the plant grows weak and lacks the energy required for growth and other processes.
Copper deficiency does not occur very often as the soil usually has enough content of copper for the plant to absorb under ideal conditions. Although it is a rare problem in cannabis plants, it can have a great overall impact on the crop. If your plant is showing symptoms of copper deficiency, making it a priority to treat it will prevent irreversible problems in the future. But what are some of the major symptoms that can help identify this problem when it arises? This article will give you all of the signs that you need to watch out for and the treatment to keep the crop from further damage.
Symptoms of Copper Deficiency
For a healthy and thriving cannabis plant, it is recommended to inspect the plant regularly. It can be therapeutic, but it also helps catch early signs of copper deficiency.
Look at the leaves
One of the telling signs of copper deficiency is the change in color of the leaves. The leaves may look shiny and metallic with bluish or greyish undertones. You may see the edges and tips of the leaves turning pale yellow. The leaves turn yellow because the plant is unable to produce chloroplasts which plays a key role in photosynthesis and consequently in the overall health of the plant. Leaves may also start to curl, contort, or roll under. The symptoms are likely to occur in new leaves of the plant, hence, proactively keeping an eye on the new leaves and carefully observing them will help tackle the problem early on. If you are a new grower, it is easy to mix copper deficiency with nutrient burn but with the latter, leaves become yellow and then brown and crusty whereas with copper deficiency the leaves have a metallic sheen to them.
Look at the stems
Another symptom to identify if the plant is copper-deficient is by monitoring the new growth, especially stems. Copper deficiency greatly affects and inhibits the growth of stems. The stems of a copper-deficient plant look smaller and weaker when compared to a healthy plant, mainly because copper is required for the synthesis of lignin, a protein that is present in the cells of the stem issues. If your plant is looking more compact and dwarfish compared to a healthy plant, it is time to start the treatment.
Look at the buds
The effects of copper deficiency can also be seen in the plant as slow flowering and ripening in the buds. Plant has difficulty photosynthesizing and this lack of adequate energy impedes bud growth. Copper deficiency is more likely to occur during flowering and can affect the harvest.
A copper-deficient plant is vulnerable when it comes to diseases since it is weak. If you are seeing the symptoms of copper deficiency in your cannabis plants, then you must act swiftly as it can lead to wilting and dying. Below is what to do if your plant has copper deficiency.
If you have noticed signs of copper deficiency in your cannabis plant, do not fret as you can take action to set your plant on the path to recovery. Here is how to deal with this problem:
Monitor pH level
The first thing on the checklist is to monitor the pH level of the growing medium. If your cannabis plant is growing in soil, then the pH level should be between 6.0 and 7.0. The recommended range for hydro and soilless mediums is between 5.5 pH to 6.5 pH. Making sure that the pH level lies in the window required for optimum growth of the plant will also ensure that copper is being absorbed better by the plant. For best absorption, a slightly acidic environment is recommended.
Flush the system
If you check for pH with the pH meter and find that levels are certainly off, you can fix it by flushing out your system with pH balanced water containing nutrients that are good for the cannabis plant. This will eliminate the salts and minerals that have accumulated in the soil. Once pH is restored to the correct level, you will notice a change in new growth, much to your relief.
Cannabis plants need copper in trace amounts and usually, there is enough copper present in the growing medium. In rare cases, you may have to provide copper to the plant. The best way to do it is to get copper chelates or copper fungicides that have copper sulfate in them. Besides that, you can use organic solutions like kelp, greensand, and compost that are rich in copper and add them to the growing medium.
One peculiar way to deal with the problem is to soak coins, dimes and quarters, in water overnight, and watering plants with it. This fun tip works because these coins contain 92% copper. Things we do for our plants!
With some extra love and these measures, you can help your plant recover to get optimal yield. Over-watering the plant can also cause problems, make sure that you adopt proper watering practices.
Since copper is immobile, it does not move around a lot in the cannabis plant. You may have to wait and check for the signs of recovery in the new leaves. It may take time for old leaves to recover. If the new growth is healthy, you can rest assured that your plant is healthy and thriving.