How To Use Copper Mesh To Prevent Slugs And Snails From Invading Your Garden

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If you've ever noticed trails of slime leading to and from your garden along with destroyed leaves and produce, you may be dealing with a slug and snail infestation. These pests are some of the most harmful, especially to vegetable and strawberry plants, certain herbs, and citrus trees. While there are pesticides available for keeping these critters away, perhaps you'd rather go a more natural route. If so, try using a copper mesh gardening product to keep slugs and snails from destroying your plants.

Basically, all you need to do is surround either the plant itself or the garden container with something that's made out of copper mesh. This most likely deters slugs and snails because they don't like the feeling of the metal underneath them. Additionally, a benefit of this method of prevention is that it won't kill the animals like pesticides would. Instead, the slightly uncomfortable sensation of the copper should simply turn them around and send them on their way.

How to protect plants with copper mesh

There are a couple of different copper products you could use to deter snails and slugs from your garden. The first is a roll of mesh like the 10-foot Yelite Copper Mesh for Pest Control, which is sold at Walmart for about $11. On the other hand, if you want to test out a DIY, try using Scotch-Brite Copper Coated Scrubbing Scour Pads; a pack of three is sold on Amazon for under $3. To use this, you'll need to cut out the middle and then stretch the outside to create a large ring.

Once you've purchased your copper product, simply place it either around the plant itself or around the plant's container. You could surround your garden box, pot, tree trunk, seedling, etc. You can also create a vertical wall of mesh around your plant, but make sure it's a few inches deep in the ground so that snails and slugs can't go underneath it. If you're surrounding a tree trunk, it's best to make sure the material can expand while the tree grows. Regularly check on the copper mesh to make sure you don't need a larger piece. Another solution is to wrap the tree with an 8-inch overlap that's secured with paper clips, which is easy to adjust if the trunk grows wider.

Why copper mesh works and a few cautions

Some think that copper mesh works to repel slugs and snails because the metal reacts with the critter's mucus, which creates a sensation similar to an electric shock. Because they don't like this feeling, they won't want to pass over the material to get to your plant, which will keep them from ruining your crops. Further, the mesh also has a jagged and sharp edge, which could help deter the critters further. To ensure that this hack works, it's best to place at least 6 inches of material around your plants, as just a thin strip may not be enough to keep them away.

You'll also want to regularly check on the copper to make sure it's in tip-top shape. If it starts to tarnish, you can polish it with vinegar or another natural cleaner. You may also notice the copper start to deteriorate past the point of saving, in which case you should replace it. When placing the mesh around your plants, check to see if there are any slugs or snails currently in your garden, as you'll want to remove these. Finally, when purchasing the right product, make sure it's actually copper and not just copper-colored.