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Understanding the TELL…

Copper Deficiency TELL in Pistachios


On December 14, 2018, Compost Solutions sponsored a guest speaker from Midwest Biosystems. He’s Edwin Blosser from Tampico, Illinois. He’s a world-renowned expert of the “ Tell “.

A person with this ability is akin to a whisperer, they see, smell and touch things that “ Tells “ them what the issue is and how to solve it. In Edwin’s case, he’s an expert in soil/plant and water relationship. He looks for a “TELL “.

Copper deficiency TELLDuring a recent visit to an 8th leaf walnut orchard, he spotted a dead limb and from the same tree spotted bark cracking at the tree soil level. This was a “ TELL “.

Most likely it was a copper mineral deficiency. Sure enough thru a recent soil test, this proved to be true. A copper deficiency in walnuts is rare but in this case, it’s understandable since this walnut planting followed almonds where copper blight sprays are not used. The take away is as growers replant walnuts after prior almond plantings, we must be aware of this potential mineral shortage.




Deficiency symptoms of copper are dieback of stems and twigs, yellowing of leaves, stunted growth and pale green leaves that wither easily. Copper deficiencies are mainly reported on sandy soils which are low in organic matter. Copper uptake decreases as soil pH increases.

Many of us are schooled to recognize the “ TELL “ for the minor element zinc, but spotting the lesser-known copper deficiency raises the bar significantly.

Next week we will post another “ TELL “ pertaining to overuse of nitrogen.

Helpful References:
Walnut Production Manual

Copper Deficiency in Walnuts


2 Responses so far.

  1. Melina Watts says:

    What an inspiring teacher, so much to learn from Mr. Edwin Blosser.