I heard copper will repel snails, is this true?

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by Love4Bugs, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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  2. anituchka

    anituchka Active Member

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    I tried many things. I even tried Escar-go, which is an organic deterrent containing iron phosphate. Does not work.
    I am back to mehaldehyde. It's the only thing that works. I read that it decomposes in the soil and if you don't put it on the actual beds but rather around the beds I can't see how it can be very toxic.
     
  3. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    It is *highly* toxic and can kill cats and animals other than slugs. Plus slugs are actually useful as long as they aren't eating your plants so I'd rather find a deterrent, there are millions of them here, killing them is just a waste of time.
     
  4. barb t

    barb t Member

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    at some point in my desperate googling about slugs and snails I found a recommendation for using plants to chase them away... plants like herbs/others they don't like the taste of.......that would have been after I got sick and tired of doing the beer thing... and before I heard about the copper...
    anyway, I started planting herbs, and especially, CHIVES, throughout the parts of the garden with serious slug/snail problems... and by the next spring there was nary a slug or snail in sight...
    now, several years after that, there's been no change... and when I see them in a new spot I do the chive thing and they disappear! I suspect it may take at least a few months for the 'chiveness' to get into the soil to chase them away.. so if I need quick action, like now with a friend's cherry trees, I've planted chives AND done the copper thing..there's no time to wait for the 'chive'ness to kick in...;)
     
  5. Buzzbee

    Buzzbee Active Member

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    I purchased the copper wire that Lee Valley sells and put it around the entire bed of roses , strawberries., and some perennials. Not only did I get a complete batch of strawberrries without any bites taken out of them, but it has also managed to keep the black spot on the roses. under control. Don't know how or why, but it works here in Ladner.
    Lee Valley advertised it would also help with Black Spot, I bought 100ft of it so next year it will surround the entire garden in the back yard. I read about it in the Vancouver Sun column of Steve Wysall, the gardening guru.
    It would not be worth much for copper thieves but I don't plan on putting it on my front yard just the same.
    Buzz
     
  6. barb t

    barb t Member

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    I've done the eggshell thing for the last couple of years as well...i'm sure they're good for the soil...I'm a lazy gardener, in the tradition of Ruth Stout: I don't wash the shells, just toss them in an empty clay pot I keep in my kitchen for the purpose, and when it fills I crush them, very dry by then, down......when no more will fit in the pot (they're in tiny dry bits by then) they're ready to spread around the hostas...

    still, planting the chives is by FAR the easiest way I've found to deal with slugs and snails...you plant them and never have to do another thing!
     
  7. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    Great discussion! Read from the beginning post in April. There are a couple of other really good threads going on about slugs - especially interesting to me since I seem to have a big problem this year.
    This is my 5th summer gardening, but my first to have a slug problem. We have the very small beigy-pink ones they are about 1 cm long. big ones about 2 cm. so they are hard to see. In reading this thread I was thinking why this year and not in the past. I thought it was because we are having a very wet summer here - it has rained almost every day since the beginning of June. Now I'm thinking there may have been some other factors going on:

    - in 2004 I planted marigolds in a bed with tomato plants and nasturtium
    - in 2005 I planted onion sets in between all my tomato plants. they took forever to grow and I even thought some died, but I did have several very nice 'spring onions'
    - in 2006 some of the onions that I thought were dead came back up
    - in 2007 I planted garlic in between my tomato plants.
    - Also in 2007 someone told my boyfriend that tomatoes liked calcium (that person sprinkles milk powder around his plants: comments on that one, anyone?) so last year we crumpled up the egg shells and sprinkled them all around the tomatoes.
    - and lastly, and I can't help but think this is also a factor, this is the first year I have done much mulching.

    So we had been saving egg shells for a few months now and I decided to grind them up small in a small food chopper I got ($7 at Loblaws, gotta love it). We combined these totally crushed and very sharp egg shells with some bone meal, sand, coarse salt (I used about 1/3 of a cup) and pea gravel and sprinkled this around as many plants as we could before we ran out. It has been about 10 days and we haven't found any slugs since we did this procedure.

    I have since heard that coffee grounds are also good to use so I am drying out some which will go into the next batch. I also like the citrus rind idea and will try that one out as well.
     
  8. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    I think, from reading all these posts, that there is a vast difference between slugs in different areas of the world and how well different things work on them. Here on the west coast of Canada on Vancouver Island we have some pretty big slugs, average about 5-6 inches long and about as large around as a thumb. They are so common here I could easily go out into my back property and fill a grocery bag full of them. They don't respond well to most of the suggestions here, however it seems that the smaller ones like the ones in Ontario might respond well to things like eggshells etc because they are so small that the shells are more of an issue for them were our slugs just steamroll across that stuff like it's not there.

    If I ever find anything that works on our slugs it will probably work on anything.
     
  9. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    I agree, a big difference - those black ones, uggh, and hearing about your banana slugs creeped me out!

    lol on your last statement !
     
  10. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I tried the salt thing once - cruelty does not quite come to mind when I think of slugs, any more than I wonder if it is cruel to the water when I throw a stone into it. It does work, but you need so much salt that I am reminded of Carthage itself (see how I assume that the habitues of this site are literate?)
     
  11. jeanneaxler

    jeanneaxler Active Member

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    Soccerdad, you comparison is somewhat grandiose but fitting. I prefer slugs to salt in the garden.
    Just wanted to add to the chives idea that garlic and onions work too. And you can eat them. When I need an onion I pull it out and leave the parts I don't use around the plants needing protection. But I have not noticed and decrease in number over the years.
     
  12. barb t

    barb t Member

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    re different slugs in different places - my comments in the last week or so basically apply to my 30 years' gardening in the Toronto area... but this summer I'm tearing apart someone else's garden, in St. John's Nfld...and the slugs/snails/chives (onions) seem just the same..
     
  13. barb t

    barb t Member

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    the size/type of snails and slugs is an interesting topic...when I started in this garden, in Newfoundland, a month ago, I found some monster gray/pinkish ones about 5 inches long, as well as lots of smaller ones.......can size indicate age?
    JCardina, if you have property with untended slugs/snails, maybe they just get to be a good size because they're able to live long slimy happy lives?
     
  14. cao330

    cao330 Member

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    I have problems with slugs, also. These are all great ideas. I am going to try the copper. Thank you
     
  15. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

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    More added to this comment, I use my scissors and cut them in half. I've been told that my koi or goldfish like them, but don't have time to treat them right now.

    I'm so glad that we don't get the banana slugs here in Boise and that black ugly thing surrounded by Seaweed? Ick! I have found some slugs around my yard that actually look like snake skin. Yellow/brown and TOUGH outer layering. I have never seen them before, but they seem to be pretty tough. Meaning harder to kill with simple objects and my scissors better be sharp!

    I feel for you with the snails as well. I grew up in San Jose, California and had my share of slugs and banana slugs and snails on the lawn that go crunch when walked on in the morning. Ick!
     
  16. barb t

    barb t Member

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    re vegetable gardens and slugs/snails...I planted a small vegetable garden a month ago here in Newfoundland, and placed about 50 single chive plants throughout... result so far perfect! (after about a week, in which, sadly, the 10 basil plants were badly attacked.)..at the same time the d___ slugs and snails are everywhere else here.....and the basils are now recovering well
    so it appears that the chives (onion/garlic family) have done the trick again
     
  17. Love4Bugs

    Love4Bugs Active Member

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    I'm back to report on the copper piping around my vegetable garden, and the results of deterring snails and slugs. (I created the original post for this topic...)

    I am happty to report the copper was very successful in keeping out snails! It is imperative that the copper is touching the dirt AND not covered with dirt. Otherwise the snails sometimes find a way under or over. Checked regularly, the copper worked against snails!!

    The copper did not work as well against the slugs. The copper pipe I used may have been too small. We have tiny pinkish slugs which are diffucult to see and hard to pick up because they are so slippery. Perhpas some of them were resident in the garden before the copper, I can't be sure. HOWEVER, when I also surrounded the lettuce area with jagged rocks, the problem subsided.

    OTHER SOLUTIONS:
    Because my birdfeeder is so near the garden, the BIRDS helped out tremendously. Every morning several birds make their regular stop in my garden to feed on bugs.

    STYROFOAM CUPS with the bottom cut out, placed partly in the dirt around a plant, prevents slugs and snails from reaching the plant. However, it does not keep the grasshoppers out...


    Future efforts: I will try copper mesh, crushed egg shells, chive plants, and onions.

    The most important thing I've learned is that using many different methods to fight insects is the most successful!!
     
  18. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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    Speaking from an physics standpoint, if it was the availability of valence holes (what's left when electrons leave to make something 'positive'), then any thin material, having the ability to build a static charge and maintain it, should do the same thing. Therefore, anything just sitting there, with a means to regularly 'charge statically' and hold it without discharging constantly to the ground would work - kinda like when we scoot over carpet and get each other.
    Without serious metallurgical and material research, I would lay the bet to be more a chemical change near the substance, with the opinion that if a charge could build up, it be helpful, but probably not the main reason for the gastropod's avoidance.
     
  19. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Wolvie - sound concept. I'd build on it by saying that copper is a better electrical conductor than, say, plastic or wool. Thereby, any static charge acumulated in the metal is more likely to be discharged to the slug or snail when it comes into contact with said barrier. This said, the oxidation process of copper in contact with water and soils generally produces both copper II oxide and a host of other copper compounds depending on the chemical composition of the soil and whatever fertilizers are produced. Thus, something like copper II sulfate is entirely possible in small amounts, and this has been proven to burn gastropods.
     
  20. Wolvie150

    Wolvie150 Active Member

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    Did some research on copper II... For those of you who understand Chem (or vaguely remember it like me...) here is a Wikipedia page concerning it.

    Seems easy to make if you are experienced with basic chemical safety and processes, but it does involve sulfuric acid, so be very careful, or just buy it.

    Good luck, great ideas, thanks for both organic and chem solutions!
     

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