Bordeaux mixture: [Origin, Characteristics, Uses, Preparation and Application]

How does Bordeaux mixture originate?

The origin of the Bordeaux mixture is attributed to an invention by the vine growers of the Bordeaux region, France, to drive away those who passed by the edges – Bordeaux -, from the vines and plucked the bunches.

French grape growers observed that vine lines treated with this product remained healthier than the rest of the plants.

Thus they discovered the effects of the product on fungi, bacteria and mites. Its diffusion is attributed to the French phytopathologist Alexis Millard who used it for the first time in 1882 to control crop pests.

The manufacture is based on a process of neutralization of a copper sulfate solution with lime. It can be made in an artisanal way, although at present it can already be purchased in the market, in 1, 4 and 20 liter presentations.

What is Bordeaux mixture?

It is a fungicide based on lime and copper sulfate (cuprocalcium), very effective and used to control pests in organic or ecological crops.

Bordeaux mixture has a wide field of action against a large number of diseases caused by fungi.

It is highly valued since it is a low-cost fungicide, easy to prepare, and its ingredients can be easily purchased in the market.

What is Bordeaux mixture used for?

Bordeaux mixture is used as an agent for the «prevention» and also to combat diseases caused by fungi in the stems, leaves and fruits of crops.

How to prepare the Bordeaux mixture step by step?

Depending on the amount of Bordeaux mixture to be prepared, a certain amount of Ingredients will be used and the most important thing is that personal protection, such as masks and gloves, should be used during the preparation.


Among the necessary ingredients, for example, for 100 liters are:

  • 1 kilogram of hydrated lime or quicklime.
  • 1 kilograms of copper sulfate.
  • 100 liters of warm water around 60º C to favor the solubility of the ingredients.
  • Wooden pallets that serve to stir the solution.
  • 100-liter plastic container and another 20-liter container or plastic tanks to prepare the broth.


  1. Prepare the solution with copper sulfate and then add the hydrated lime, it is recommended to follow this order because otherwise it can produce toxic gases. This process is carried out, moving with the trowel until solubility is achieved.
  2. Check the degree of oxidation (corrosion) by inserting iron objects such as nails or a machete. Excess acidity will oxidize the metals, which means that more lime must be added until the iron does not oxidize.
  3. Do not use the Bordeaux mixture until after 24 hours, once it has been prepared, in order for it to have the specific effect required.
  4. Among the limitations of Bordeaux mixture are that it should not be mixed with other products because it can be dangerous; use with great skill as it can clog the nozzle of the sprinkler hoses.

How and when is the Bordeaux mixture applied?

The Bordeaux mixture is applied through the sprinkling process, either on trees or on herbaceous plants with the aim of preventing the appearance of diseases or to stop their spread.

The application of the product should be done as follows:

To the seedlings «in the nursery», a mixture based on 50% solution and 50% water will be applied, and in «field» plantations, Bordeaux mixture will be used at 100% of the concentration of the product (pure) .

Its application in fruit trees must be carried out when it is still without leaves and with swollen buds for budding. Never apply to fruit trees with leaves. It is very important that you make the right mixture to be applied and try to use it all immediately after you have prepared it.

What pests and diseases does Bordeaux mixture fight?

The new pests and diseases that appear in the environment and that attack plants make it necessary to search for more and better ways to combat them, hence the Bordeaux mixture.

These techniques must provide harmony to the environment, easy to prepare and inexpensive, which makes Bordeaux mixture an excellent alternative.

Bordeaux mixture is applied to repel diseases caused by fungi that attack most horticultural crops, including: La Roya; Anthracnose; Chicken eye; Iron stain from coffee; Phytophthora; Downy mildew; Monilia and Alternaria, among other fungi.

What is Bordeaux paste?

Bordeaux paste is a thicker and more concentrated Bordeaux mixture. It is made with the same ingredients as the broth: copper sulfate and lime.

Its use is to disinfect the cuts in trees that have been pruned or that have undergone surgery because many tissues were rotten or injured, as is the case with citrus gum .

The Bordeaux paste can also be used to brush the trunks, thicker branches and the base of many roots that are exposed on the ground, in order to avoid future diseases.

It is an excellent fungicide to be used in the cultivation of coffee after pruning and socas (drastic pruning that coffee plantations undergo for their renewal).

How to make Bordeaux paste?

The preparation of the Bordeaux paste is the same procedure used to prepare the original 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Hence, 1 kg of copper sulfate, 2 kg of quicklime and 12 liters of water must be mixed in a bucket. Stir well to create a dense but manageable paste. Bordeaux paste can be stored for a maximum of three days.

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