Does Copper Flashing Really Control Slugs? 🧐

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, who have been planting since. Hav you heard of adding copper flashing to garden beds? I’m not sure that science backs this solution, but I’m going to give it a try and see what I think.

copper flashing via
Use copper flashing rolls to create copper garden edging. Even if it might not control slugs, it adds a touch of elegance to any outdoor space. This durable and versatile material creates clean lines and helps to define flower beds and pathways. It also naturally weathers to a beautiful patina over time, adding character to your garden.
cutting copper flashing via

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, which 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. Supposedly, when a slug starts to ooze across a clean, corrosion-free piece of copper, a chemical reaction occurs with its slime layer, which causes the slug to experience an electric shock. (how satisfying is that!) I wish there was an equivalent for bunnies. Does any scientist know a substance that reacts electrically with soft fur? 😉

I’ve got other plans for the extra flashing (I am thinking of experimenting with a homemade water feature, (more on that later).

To install, I simply cut a strip of the flashing to the length of 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.
Copper is purported to deter slugs, and many gardeners use copper tape and/or unraveled copper scouring pads around plants and on the edges of garden beds. Its efficacy is, however, debatable. My own experiments were inconclusive – but I did find the copper flashing to be an interesting detail on the bed edges. Copper has natural antimicrobial properties, and I wonder if it might also help prevent plant diseases.

More gardening tips and advice:

Images: Rochelle Greayer

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  1. Megan says:

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

  2. rosekraft says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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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