Using Copper Pennies to Help Prevent Blight on Tomato Plants?
Copper pennies have been touted by some as a potential cure for blight, a common fungal disease that can devastate plants like tomatoes and potatoes. The idea is that the copper in the pennies will prevent the spread of the fungus and keep your plants healthy. However, the effectiveness of this method is somewhat controversial, with some gardeners claiming it works wonders while others say it’s a waste of time. In this article, we’ll explore both sides of the argument to help you decide whether using copper pennies to prevent blight is a good idea or not.
Why Copper Pennies Might be Good for Preventing Blight
Copper is a natural fungicide, and has been used for centuries to combat fungal diseases. Copper ions are toxic to many types of fungi, and can interfere with their growth and reproduction. This is why copper is often used in commercial fungicides and antifungal treatments for plants. When it comes to blight specifically, copper has been shown to be effective in preventing and treating the disease.
One study found that using copper-based fungicides could reduce the incidence of late blight on tomato plants by up to 90%. Another study showed that copper-based fungicides were effective in controlling early blight in potatoes. These results suggest that copper can be an effective tool in the fight against blight, and that using copper pennies might have some merit.
In addition, some gardeners swear by the use of copper pennies to prevent blight. They claim that burying a few pennies around the base of their tomato plants keeps the blight at bay. The idea is that as rainwater washes over the pennies, it releases small amounts of copper ions into the soil, which in turn prevent the blight from taking hold.
While there is limited scientific evidence to support this claim, there are some anecdotal reports of success. For example, one gardener on the GardenWeb forums reported that they had used copper pennies to prevent blight on their tomato plants for several years with great success. They claimed that burying a few pennies around the base of each plant was enough to keep the blight from spreading.
Why Copper Pennies Might be Worthless for Preventing Blight
While copper is indeed a natural fungicide, using copper pennies to prevent blight might not be the best way to go about it. First of all, modern U.S. pennies are not made entirely of copper. Since 1982, pennies have been made from a zinc core with a thin copper coating. This means that the amount of copper in each penny is relatively small, and may not be enough to have a significant effect on blight.
In addition, the amount of copper in each penny is not consistent. The copper coating on pennies can vary in thickness, and the amount of copper in the alloy used for the penny can vary depending on the year it was minted. This means that there is no way to know for sure how much copper you are actually getting from each penny, which makes it difficult to gauge the effectiveness of this method.
Furthermore, using copper pennies as a fungicide can have unintended consequences. Copper can be toxic to plants in high concentrations, and using too much copper can actually harm your plants. In addition, copper can build up in the soil over time, which can lead to soil contamination and harm beneficial microorganisms in the soil. This means that if you are using a lot of copper pennies to prevent blight, you may actually be doing more harm than good.
So, you decide! There is very little scientific evidence to support the use of copper pennies as a method for preventing blight. While there are anecdotal reports of success.
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