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Ray

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Apparently there are both systemic and topical copper treatments. I was not aware of the latter. The bulletin Ozpaph posted refers to the copper particle size on the leaf surface, making me think they are referring to the application of copper suspensions, not solutions.

I have read other articles that state copper has no systemic effect, yet here is an abstract of an article about copper fungicides and their subsequent concentration in potato tubers, so that must be systemic uptake. The Phyton corporation, among others, refer to their products as being systemic, and I cannot see the EPA permitting that statement if it was not proven to be true.

Copper as a plant treatment is some 130 years old or more. What might be happening is the gray area in definitions, which have become clearer - topical (a surface treatment), systemic (uptake through roots, spread through the vasculum) and translaminar (absorbed through vegetative surfaces, penetrating into the plant tissues), which is sometimes also referred to as being systemic.
 
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southernbelle

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Well anyway, the real stuff finally came. Comparing labels the Bonide Copper Fungicide contains .08% of Copper Octanoate (Copper Soap, it says) and .017% of Metallic Copper Equivalent (could this be the convincing blue dye?). Phyton contains 21.36% of Copper Sulphate Pentahydrate. Gee, I wonder which one is more effective. Bonide: ripoff, garbage.
Bonide is a consumer product. Phyton a professional one. More concentrated, more expensive usually.
 

masaccio

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Thanks, Ray.
You may have run into this reference article on fungicides by the St. Augustine Orchid Society.
St. Augustine Orchid Society - Orchid Disease Control
The article discusses systemic opposed to direct contact fungicides, as well as other types. It recommends several copper products, Phyton being one, but fails to categorize it either as a systemic, or as not a systemic.
It seems that the main claim for Phyton excellence by its manufacturers is their patented formula that provides systemic action in Phyton, and that it can be applied either by spray or as a drench. There are no statements by the manufacturer that limit the systemic benefit to one or the other method of application. One assumes, then, whether used in a spray or a drench, the claim to systemic action would hold, if it's actually true of either.
The other distinction is of course that Liquid Copper contains no metallic copper, and Phyton does. The other distinction which seems a valid comparison is the relative amount of copper in one form or another for each product. Bonide 1.8% "Copper Equivalent", Phyton 5.4% metallic copper.
I'm not satisfied that I've gained any great understanding about this. Nor have I read or learned anything in these discussions that would pull me away from Phyton, or increase my trust in Bonide as the superior application for my uses. It's been very interesting though and made me do some of my own digging. A good thing.
 

masaccio

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Bonide is a consumer product. Phyton a professional one. More concentrated, more expensive usually.
Thanks. Yes, there's that. My general concern in using unfamiliar consumer oriented chemicals is that they have been dumbed down. There are certainly some great ones out there but I need to arrive an a level of personal trust in each one, which can be difficult.
 

southernbelle

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Thanks. Yes, there's that. My general concern in using unfamiliar consumer oriented chemicals is that they have been dumbed down. There are certainly some great ones out there but I need to arrive an a level of personal trust in each one, which can be difficult.
Yes, but as Ray pointed out, in this case Bonide is the strongest product (mixed) for the money.
 

Ray

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Masaccio, there is no “metallic copper” in Phyton; that’s simply the way they have chosen to describe the elemental copper content. The active ingredient is copper sulfate and the label says “copper as metallic”.
 

masaccio

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More proof that I have no business evaluating chemical solutions. I'm good with that!
 

Ray

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It can!

I don’t recall the mass, but I used to sell some, premeasured in a plastic bottle. Just add a cup of water and shake until it’s all dissolved, and voila!! you had a bottle of generic Phyton 27 for a lot less money.
 

cnycharles

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The particular formulation of chemicals to be applied to plants is very important. The form (powder, liquid, suspension, flowable, pellet) the exact chemicals used to supply the intended active ingredient have a very important effect on the chemical working or not, and very importantly for plant applied chemicals, the phytotoxicity of the applied chemical to the plant. Just because it contains copper doesn’t mean it will work, or work as well, or burn/not burn the plant when following the application instructions exactly. A number of pesticides have had their formulations changed because the chemical worked but burned plants. The new form is intended to be more active or stay on or in the plant longer (not wash off, release slowly) but not burn the plant. Earlier cheaper chemicals may have worked well but had a nasty habit of burning plants or poisoning people, frogs, butterflies, birds pets you name it. Newer chemicals have been formulated to be safer to plants animals people, the environment. And certain older formulations May have lead to resistant insects and diseases. A change in formulation May be more active against resistant strains or be able to penetrate cell walls and stomates. So it becomes very important to read labels and literature to find out details, warnings against treating certain plants because of burns. An important reason why some formulations get changed is because of the during and after safety considerations. Many pesticides have REI’s or restricted entry intervals and different warning words and danger levels. Lots of copper products previously had 24hr REI and strong damage to eyes and skin is exposed during application and for 24 hrs after spray. Many plant nurseries can’t close down an area for a whole 24 hrs after application, so a changed formula that kills the target but is ‘safer’, allowing normal entry more quickly is very valuable to a nursery. Also in the age where we desire less residues on our food crops and want organic products to eat, newer safer less residuous (just made that up :) ) pesticides are highly desirable and demanded by governmental organizations. Copper is considered ‘elemental’ to some degree, did you know that some harsh copper products are allowed to be used on ‘organic’ food products? Also other interesting compounds that have been defined as ‘found in nature’ so can be used on organic products
So the more basic or simple copper product more widely available may be effective or cheap, but may be more dangerous to plants and living things than newer versions. Tons of money is spent on creating, testing, making legal in a state or country. And if it doesn’t really work, it’s not likely to be brought into the market. This is for pesticides and chemicals that have very strong restrictions on being allowed into the market to protect the total environment (butterflies, bees, frogs, water supply, people.....). Things that don’t need to have restrictions like common household or fertilizing products, can very well be ‘snake oil’ things and not be helpful at all. As long as they don’t have poisonous effects, they don’t make unprovable claims of health then they can exist without working
It’s likely all of those copper fungicide products work to some degree, just how safe are they? And you have to read the label always. Does one form of copper list to be used against the disease you need treated but not others? If not on the label, then it’s not likely to do much good, or only effect a little. A certain chemical may say ‘don’t use on orchids, damage’ or another May say ‘orchids are included in the tested and found safe list of target plants’. If you are an orchid business and you use a chemical listed as ‘don’t use on orchids’ and there’s damage, it’s your fault. Use not according to the label can incur strong legal liabilities. So always read the label. It will tell you if you should use or not
 

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