Slugs and metal

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by Erica, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Erica

    Erica Active Member

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    Hi there- I searched the forum and didn't see a thread on this but apologoze if it's been discussed.
    ANyway, is there a metal that slugs and snails don't like crossing over? I thought I read it somewhere. Is it copper? I'm not sure. I hate slugs and snails but feel so bad when I try to kill them. I end up just flicking them across the yard and I know they'll be back. ANyway, I was thinking if they hate metal then I could buy a wire and lay it all along the perimeter of my garden.
    So have you heard of this?
    Thanks- Erica
     
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    It is copper. Here is one product made from this material.
     
  3. flytrap

    flytrap Active Member

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    This is great information! I'd been using diatomaceous earth to keep slugs at bay...and it get's pricey after awhile.

    Do you know if copper is toxic to plants, and if you ingest plants grown next to copper, does the plant absorb and therefore, contain traces of the metal?
     
  4. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    I don't think the copper could hurt you. It's a trick that has been around for a while and I've never heard anything like that. What is cheaper and better is if you have access to any ducks then let them go in the garden for a day. Ducks love slugs!
     
  5. Dunc

    Dunc Active Member

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    Copper works nicely around planters and pots. I buy a 10' length of grounding wire from any hardware store and unwind the wires. Staple them around the bases or legs of your planters and repel slugs. It doesn't work as a peremiter on your lawn as the slimey critters are right in the soil. There are no harmful results in your soil.
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Copper is a micronutrient for plants. I guess toxicity comes about with larger amounts. There are warnings about this possibility with copper fungicides but I've not come across any regarding copper barriers, probably because break down is so slow that buildup to toxic levels is unlikely.

    Here is an article that mentions the use of copper barriers.

    P.S. Maybe there's a use for all those copper pennies after all - slug barrier!
     
  7. fern2

    fern2 Active Member

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    Hi,

    Here's a suggestion for you: Collect plastic yogurt container (etc) lids, cut out the centre so all you've got is the outer ring remaining, then staple your thin copper strips onto the outside of the ring so the plastic acts like a base & the copper sticks upward like a wall.

    It's a really great way of protecting individual plants without going through the frustration of trying to wedge the copper into the ground in perfect unbroken circles around each plant. Plus it doesnt' mean resorting to pesticides or other evil tricks to keep the slugs away..

    And remember: slugs will exploit any breaks you leave in the copper or any leaves/debris allowed to reach over (or near) the rim of your copper 'wall', so be really careful when you're setting it up.

    Good luck!
     
  8. greendude

    greendude Member

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    Eliminate potential shelter for slugs, remove surface debris in and around the garden and avoid organic mulches (straw, grass clippings). Also, increase air movement around plants, and reduce high moisture conditions with trellises and wider plant spacing.

    You can also use a ground cover as a bait, a board (12"x12" or more - ideally a board that has been outside and has some dampness or even a bit of dirt and gunge on it - face down) placed about 1/2" above the ground in a moist area (ideally close to the problem area) out of the sun will attract slugs for its protection, in the morning after dew, lift the board and dispose of any slugs you find. place a little grass clippings along the edges of the board with a few holes here and there for access.

    This has worked well for me in the past.
     
  9. lanarkcp

    lanarkcp Active Member

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    I have had luck with 1/2 inch copper piping. Local plumbers often have 3 - 4 foot lengths, which they consider scrap. It darkens quickly and color-wise seems to disappear, while still doing the job. You have to be careful that the leaves do not droop to the ground on the outside of your enclosure, as this provides a bridge for slugs. Any fallen leaves, which may be hiding slugs, have to be removed when this is done, or they will be closed in and have free access to your plants. This allows you do do a whole bed easily and quickly.

    My favourite is a solution of 9:1, water/ammonia, which you can get at the grocery store. I bought a wonderful spray bottle at Canadian Tire for about $8, which has a pump, allowing you to pressurize the bottle, for a continuous spray. Don't get down wind of it though. I have read that the most damage is from slugs that hatch from eggs, laid on the crown the fall before, so you have to spray early and then every couple of weeks, throughout the summer. It is inexpensive and environmentally acceptable as it breaks down into nitrogen, which the plants can use.

    I have tried the beer-in-a-partially-burried-container solution, but have once too often seen racoons using the containers like champage glasses and have given up on the idea.

    My last suggestion, if you are not squeamish about slithering things, is to pile up in several locations, small rocks of different shapes and sizes, so that there are lots of nice warm spaces, in which small snakes will make home, if left undisturbed. They will consume a fair number of slugs.

    None of these methods is perfect, but living with undisturbed forest as a back yard, and an unending supply of insects, I can't win the battle and have decided the just-good-enough method is quite suitable. As for squirrels, I, long ago, gave up completely.
     
  10. greendude

    greendude Member

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    Well I can't say I have given up :-) but I have decided it is better to work with nature and think of how nature handles these things and try to go with the flow. There are lots of new natural products coming out that are effective.
     
  11. tonyjr

    tonyjr Member

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    I use copper wire , but brass , lead , solder and galvannized wire [ tomato basket wire ] work . If you use tomatoe baskets for support , and you cut to size , just bend the piece you cut off in a circile and put plant in the middle .
     

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