NC State Extension Publications


Nutritional disorder – copper (Cu) deficiency


Younger leaves initially develop an uniform, light yellow (chlorosis) coloration. In the interior of the leaf, while the outside margin remains green. This produces a halo effect (similar to Zn deficiency. With severe deficiencies the interveinal areas become bleached.

Fruit size is normal.

Depiction of copper (Cu) deficiency.

Depiction of copper (Cu) deficiency.

Brian E. Whipker

Similar Problems

Iron, manganese, zinc, and molybdenum deficiencies may produce similar symptoms

Additional Information

Because symptoms can occur due to many possible causes, it is important to determine the actual cause. Tissue testing will help identify any nutritional disorders. Nutrient deficiencies usually take weeks to develop.

Diagnostic Tips

Take a soil sample to determine if nutrient levels are inadequate. Submit a leaf sample for nutrient analysis. The sufficiency range for copper in strawberries vary and is between 3 and 15 or 6 to 20 ppm. Values below 3 ppm are considered deficient and above 30 ppm are considered excessive.

Corrective Measures

Take a soil and tissue test to determine nutrient levels. Make adjustments based on those test results and the lab’s recommendations.


Conduct a soil test prior to planting the crop to determine if pre-plant fertilizer applications are required. Fertilizer can also be injected to the crop during active growth. Recommendations vary by soil type and your location, so check with local resources for guidelines.

Funding Sources

Funding was provided in part by the National Sustainable Agriculture Program: Sustainable Strawberry Initiative and the following sources.

A thank you is also expressed to Kube Pak of Allentown, New Jersey for donating strawberry plants.

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Department of Horticulural Science

Publication date: April 24, 2014

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