I have been wanting to try out copper tape as a method for snail and slug control for a number of years now. Copper is said to repel these slimy destroyers by giving them a small static shock as they attempt to pass over the material.
Last year must have been the worst year ever for gardeners. The continually wet summer and autumn saw slug and snail populations skyrocket. My allotment plot was totally stripped and I brought in absolutely nothing during harvest. This year, I have decided to pull out all of the stops and get the slug and snail population in my garden down to normal levels.
Buying copper tape
Initially, I was put off by the cost – typically £5 for about 4 metres on a 4 cm roll. However, I found a few suppliers online offering the same product for a fraction of the price – around £8 for 16 metres. Always worth shopping around.
During March, I started to apply the copper tape around the base of my greenhouse staging. I had about 20 trays of seedlings to protect. I later applied the same tape around flower tubs and troughs, into which I planted flowers and vegetables that I knew the slugs soon strip bare.
Slugs & Snail – nil pois!
It’s now the end of June and I am very happy to report a surprising 100% success rate with the copper tape! I can’t believe it. This year, I’m actually growing hostas, pak choi, french marigolds and larkspur. They are all looking very healthy, with no signs of damage.
I also applied the copper tape around the bases of my young runner beans and french climbing beans. I used 10 cm length of PVC drainpipes with rings of copper tape applied around the top. Again, as with the other protected plants, there have been no casualties.
Copper tape as a slug & snail barrier: My verdict
Copper tape is very effective in creating a barrier between your precious plants and slugs and snails. The static charge they receive is too much for even the hungriest Mollusc. Watch the following video to see how they react to copper tape placed around a pot: