Every gardener and farmer has the same issue that crops up and up again – pest and fungal diseases.
These are huge problems that often occur during the warmer and wetter seasons and they can seriously affect your plants and crops.
Gardening and farming are very time-consuming projects and seeing all of your hard work ruined due to a bunch of pesky bugs and fungi.
But not all is lost – there are plenty of products that can be used as a pesticide and fungicides. Two of the most recommended products are copper fungicide and neem oil – but what are they and which one is the best one to use?
If you are looking for a great, natural product to use as a fungicide or pesticide, then I have got all the information you need to know about copper fungicide and neem oil.
I am going to review both products in great detail and then compare them to see which product I would recommend for you to use.
That way, you can have a deeper understanding of both so you can pick the best product for you with confidence.
So – let’s take a closer look at copper fungicide and neem oil to see which one comes out on top!
Table of Contents
What Is Copper Fungicide?
Copper fungicide is a product that utilizes the metal copper in its dissolved form (usually with water or other compounds) to help protect plants from contracting any fungal diseases that threaten their growth and development.
It does this by deeply penetrating the plant tissue it is applied to, protecting the plant from any fungi that may try to take over and reside there.
Most copper fungicides work by reacting copper with sulfuric acid, allowing it to kill pathogens through the process of denaturation.
However, copper fungicide is more of a preventive measure than an actual treatment. People assume that because copper fungicide works great at keeping fungi from ruining your plants, it can be used as a treatment when fungi are already present – but this is not the case.
Copper fungicide is not an effective treatment for fungus-infected plants, but frequent use beforehand can help prevent certain diseases from affecting your plants.
Such fungal diseases that copper fungicide helps to control include powdery mildew, septoria leaf spot, anthracnose, fire blight, and black spot.
These kinds of fungus diseases are very common when humidity is high, so using copper fungicide frequently before the change in season can help prevent these diseases from ever affecting your plants.
Use copper fungicide too late, and it won’t make a difference. It is a preventative, not a form of treatment.
However, a copper fungicide can be used as more than just a preventative against fungal diseases. Because it contains copper sulfate, this means that it also acts as a great fertilizer for copper-deficient soil.
So, spraying your plants with copper fungicide could also improve their growth and bloom – but be careful not to overuse it as excessive spraying can kill plants.
This is because the copper ions penetrate the plant so deeply that they can cause damage if used too often.
The recommended time between applications is at least seven days, but always check the instructions on the copper fungicide you have bought to be sure the time is no longer.
How To Use Copper Fungicide?
Copper fungicides can be used similarly to other fungicides, but it is always vital that you read the instructions on the product you have bought. This is because there could be certain guidelines you should follow that vary from product to product.
For example, a copper fungicide should never be applied during hot weather because it can cause the plants to burn.
To prepare your copper fungicide for application, you typically need to add one to three teaspoons per gallon of water to your spray tank or bottle.
It’s also important to check with the copper fungicide you have bought as this general guideline may vary from product to product.
Once you’ve added your copper fungicide to your water, then mix and start spraying your plants’ leaves.
The wet leaves allow the copper ions of the fungicide to penetrate them deeply, killing pathogens and altering the enzymes there.
Copper fungicide will degenerate over time but you should wait at least seven days after spraying before reapplying.
Like I said earlier, it’s best to apply copper fungicide before your plants actually become affected by fungal disease, so it’s best if you start applying copper fungicide to your plants before temperatures and humidity increase in your area.
You should also avoid applying copper fungicide to your plants during hot weather and when bees are actively near the plants. Although copper fungicide is usually not harmful to bees, it’s best not to actively spray them with it.
The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Copper Fungicide
Copper fungicide has many benefits including how well it works as a preventative against fungal diseases. It can help stop diseases like fire blight and anthracnose (two very infamous diseases that annoy gardeners to no end) which makes it very valuable to a lot of gardeners.
Another advantage that copper fungicide has is that it can help improve plants grown in copper-deficient soil, improving their growth and increasing their fruit production by supplying them with the additional nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy.
However, copper fungicide is not perfect. It does not work as a form of treatment, and excessive use can be harmful to plants.
This is because the copper ions can penetrate the plant too deeply before it has had time to recover from the last application, damaging its deeper tissue with each application.
Also, copper can be toxic if used in great amounts. It does not break down and will accumulate in your soil unless washed away, which means that the good bacteria and organisms that live in that soil can be killed by overusing copper fungicide.
Because of this, copper fungicide comes with many risks if used improperly – but all of this can be avoided by reading the instructions and warnings on the labels properly.
What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is a popular pesticide that is produced naturally from the seeds of the neem tree. It is usually yellow or brown and features a strong garlic scent.
While it is used as a form of pesticide, neem oil is also used in a lot of other household products like soaps and toothpaste. This is because neem oil contains a component called azadirachtin which is excellent at killing and repelling pests.
This compound of azadirachtin is what makes neem oil such a great pesticide, especially when used on very young plants.
It’s non-toxic which means that it is fine to use around birds, bees, and other beneficial wildlife, but it is easily absorbed by the plant.
When an insect lands and begins to feed on the plant, it takes in that insect and causes them to reduce or stop eating.
Larvae are also prevented from maturing and disrupt the mating cycle, stopping the insects from being able to breed around your plant.
Neem oil works as an excellent pesticide against many insects but it is most useful against insects like mites, aphids, and whiteflies.
Plus, neem oil also works as a fungicide. It works against fungi and mildews, meaning that it can be used against diseases like black spots and root rot.
It also works as a fertilizer as it contains lots of important components like nitrogen and potassium that are beneficial for soil-based organisms.
How To Use Neem Oil?
It’s important to know how to use neem oil properly because, like with all pesticides and fungicides, excessive use can damage and kill plants.
It is recommended that you test your plants out first by applying a small area and waiting to see if there is any damage.
You should also avoid applying neem oil in high temperatures and during extremely sunny weather, so it is best to spray your plants either in the morning or evening before temperatures start to rise.
Also, do not spray your plants or wildlife hedges when beneficial wildlife like bees and butterflies are actively foraging in the plants. Although neem oil is not toxic, it is best to avoid using it when important insects are nearby to avoid any potential issues.
Check the labels on your neem oil product packaging for the correct ratio of neem oil to water. Usually, this ratio is around one or two teaspoons per gallon of water but this can vary from product to product.
Mix together well in your spray bottle or tank and make sure that you coat your plants’ leaves completely.
Neem oil should be applied once a week to keep on top of pests and fungal diseases, but it is important to check the instructions of your product to ensure you are not over-applying this pesticide to your plants.
The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Neem Oil
Neem oil works great as both an insecticide and a fungicide, making it very versatile by providing double coverage with a single spray.
It also works great as a fertilizer as it contains a lot of beneficial compounds for soil organisms, further increasing this single product’s usefulness and versatility.
It’s also non-toxic which means it won’t harm important insects like bees, although it is not recommended that you spray neem oil when bees are active on the plant at that time.
However, there are a lot of guidelines you must follow to appropriately use neem oil and prevent it from harming your plants.
This can be frustrating and one mistake can have dire consequences, but properly reading the instructions on the packaging should be enough to avoid this.
Neem oil is also biodegradable which means that it will break down in the soil and not leave residues that can build up over time and contaminate your soil.
The only downside to neem oil seems to be how short-lived it is as azadirachtin breaks down very easily in sunlight.
Also, it can be an irritant if applied to human skin when undiluted so make sure you handle it with care and wear protective gloves.
Copper Fungicide Vs Neem Oil
So – how do copper fungicide and neem oil compare to each other?
Well, both are very different when it comes to how they are used. Copper fungicide is only effective as a preventative against fungal disease, while neem oil can be used as an insecticide and as a fungicide.
While copper fungicide is not great at treating fungal diseases, neem oil can sometimes kill fungi that infect your plants.
When it comes to fertilizing your soil, both also work very differently.
Both contain important compounds that can benefit your soil but copper fungicide is toxic and does not break down by itself, meaning that excessive use can cause copper to build up in your soil and damage the organisms living there.
On the other hand, neem oil is biodegradable so you don’t have to worry about that as long as you use it appropriately.
So, when it comes to versatility and use, neem oil wins out as you can use it to prevent and treat more pests and diseases plus it is safer to use.
While both work effectively against fungi, neem oil takes the crown because of its range when it comes to multiple uses and treating various diseases.
Both copper fungicide and neem oil need reapplication after about a week and should be handled with care (especially during hot weather), but copper fungicide can be more damaging to plants when used excessively. This means that neem oil is also the safer option.
So, I would recommend neem oil over copper fungicide when it comes to treating your plants and crops.
This is because not only is neem oil safer for your soil and plants, but it also works to protect and treat various fungal diseases and repel pests.
However, if you have copper-deficient soil, then perhaps copper fungicide may work to your advantage, but overall, I would recommend that you use neem oil to treat your plants during the more humid seasons. Apart from fungal diseases, if mice are making your lawn a mess, then do check my article about How To Keep Field Mice Out Of Your Lawn.