DIY: Copper Flashing Slug Control

I got an early start on my garden this year but quickly have been a bit demoralized. I planted radishes, beets, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, kale, peas, and broccoli in April and while I got lots of babies, I really only have a few pea plants, a bunch of hole-y radishes and an odd spinach and kale leaf here and there to show for my efforts. The culprit is more than just slugs and I haven’t quite sorted out who it is (I think since I have banished the woodchuck it must be a bunny) but the hole-y radish is of the insect variety. And I noticed slugs on my Peonies. Yuck! I am taking action before they get my babies that have been planting since.

copper flashing via www.pithandvigor.com

I am testing out one of many organic options for slug control –  and that is the use of copper. Lowes has rolls of copper flashing that I reason gives me the most options for different methods. The idea behind the copper is to block access to your plants with the copper.  Slugs and their slimy nasty membraneous bodies do not mix. When a slug starts to ooze across a clean, corrosion-free piece of copper, a chemical reaction occurs with their slime layer which causes the slug to experience an electric shock. (how satisfying is that!) I wish there was an equivalent for bunnies. Any scientist know a substance that reacts electrically with soft fur? 😉
cutting copper flashing via www.pithandvigor.com
I’ve got other plans for the extra flashing (I am thinking to experiment with a homemade water feature….more on that later). To install, I simply cut a strip of the flashing to the length of the my raised beds, removed the sticky backing (though I am not entirely sure that was necessary and wrapped it over the edge of my beds. Bonus that they match the new terracotta and copper plant tags that I made earlier this year!

copper flashing on edges of garden beds.

Images: Rochelle Greayer

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lowes.  This is a series that I am doing through the end of the year.  Once a month, they give me the cash for materials and a theme and I work out a DIY that hopefully we can all use.   I am not an employee of Lowes and all opinions are my own.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

4 Comments

  1. Megan on May 31, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Sluggo is the best option and it’s safe! We lived with succulent eating snails & slugs year round. Lowes should carry it 🙂

  2. rosekraft on May 31, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Never had any luck with the copper foil, and really never liked the way it looked in the garden – Sluggo is absolutely the best solution for snails and slugs.

  3. Joe on June 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Unfortunately, Sluggo is toxic to soil organisms and eventually kills your soil life. You won’t find that on their label.

    And, Sluggo + uses Spinosad which is toxic to honey bees.

    I use copper in the form of Slug Shield. Year-after-year with great results.

  4. Edward on June 12, 2013 at 6:57 am

    I say let nature run its course, I don’t agree with using toxic chemicals on plants. Out of interest, i’m assuming using copper kills the slugs – or does is just deter them?

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