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Copper tool conundrum  RSS feed

 
Posts: 98
Location: South Central Kentucky
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Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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I thought that copper was toxic to most plants
 
Posts: 102
Location: Tampa, Florida zone 9A
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Copper is toxic in large enough quantities; it is also a nutrient.

Whether a copper tool is a good idea or not to use in gardening would depend on how much you use it.

In my own case when it came time to replace the pipes in our house and the choice was copper or plastic; we chose copper -- believing it to be the less toxic of the two.

 
kent smith
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
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It used to be common where I grew up to string a couple of bare copper wires along the ridge of your roof to keep moss from growing on your shingles.
kent
 
Posts: 56
Location: SW Virginia Mountains, USA
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I love copper, and have worked a bit with it, although not in tools. Wouldn't copper be too soft for say, a shovel?
 
Denise Lehtinen
Posts: 102
Location: Tampa, Florida zone 9A
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I would suppose that whether a copper shovel would be a workable tool in a given soil would certainly depend upon how hard the soil is.

In my local sand, I would expect it to be just fine. (My double-dig book talks about it being really tough to get down to their recommended 2 feet soil loosening depth in the first year, BUT I -- a particularly petite and not especially strong woman -- can dig out a hole that deep by just keeping at it and never going so fast that I get winded. It is a long task, but not especially hard.)

In clay soil, you are probably right that the softness of the metal would be a real issue.

My memory is that in Ancient Egypt (like the time of the Pharaohs and the Pyramids) copper was the metal that they made all their tools out of. It was their technological advantage over the surrounding populations.
 
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When I've looked at "copper" tools, they have been bronze. Which is of course a copper/tin alloy.
 
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