The application of herbicides has induced symptoms of nutrient deficiencies under some circumstances. This glasshouse study examined the effect of chlorsulfuron on the uptake and utilization of copper (Cu) in four cultivars of wheat plants (Triticum aestivum L. cvs. Kulin, Cranbrook, Gamenya and Bodallin) on a Cu-responsive soil. Application of chlorsulfuron depressed the concentration of Cu in wheat plants receiving either inadequate or adequate Cu. In plants with inadequate Cu supply, chlorsulfuron increased the severity of Cu deficiency. Shoot weight was markedly decreased by chlorsulfuron at all levels of Cu, through decreasing the number of tillers and the elongation of leaves. This decreased growth of shoots occurred prior to the effect on Cu concentration in tissues. The retranslocation of Cu in old tissues over time was unaffected by chlorsulfuron. In all wheat cultivars, the decreased growth of shoots were correlated with the concentration of Cu in the youngest fully emerged leaf blade with critical levels of 1.6-1.7 at day 25 and 0.9-1.0 mug g(-1) d. wt. at day 60. The application of chlorsulfuron tended to increase the critical level at day 25 but not at day 60. In addition, Kulin seems to be most, and Cranbrook least, sensitive to chlorsulfuron. This sensitivity was associated with the sensitivity of the cultivars to Cu deficiency. It is suggested that chlorsulfuron application induces Cu deficiency in wheat plants mainly due to effects on the uptake of Cu.