Seedling protected by copper tape

For gardeners it is pure joy watching something grow. Something initially tiny, nurtured by you, starts developing into something full of promise of the harvest yet to come. Most gardeners probably also know the utter heartbreak of losing all your hard work in one night…. one rainy night. From discussions with other gardeners I feel my battle with snails seems to be significantly larger than most encounter. Without a doubt it has been the hardest part about gardening. On a rainy week I will easily catch 100 snails every night. On a dry night it would still be ~20-50.

Comparison of a seedling protected by copper tape and one without

Beer and orange juice traps simply don’t work – apparently my vegetables taste better. I have tried a number of different traps and with two pets, putting snail bait around is simply not an option. This was really drilled into me when I thought keeping a little in the closed greenhouse would be a safe option, but after an almost $300 trip to the vet, snail pellets are not appropriate… anywhere…

My greenhouse is now protected from unwanted guests

I had almost given up hope that I would ever be able to spend a night without having to make the choice of go snail hunting or lose everything – until I discovered copper tape!  

Apparently snails get an electric shock when they touch copper, so they won’t cross the tape. So far it seems to be working fantastically! Having lined plastic bottles with the copper tape, I finally feel safe to leave my seedlings out over night (even on rainy nights) knowing they will still be there to greet me in the morning. Plants in pots lined with the tape have also been safe and continue to grow strong.

Potatoes growing healthily with no damage from snail attacks

Copper tape is available from selected nurseries and also can be found on eBay. While it is probably more expensive than other pest control methods it is by far the safest method, doesn’t add any chemicals to your plants or soil and, best of all, will keep protecting your plants year after year.