The renaissance of the Bronze Age in the garden
The Bronze Age is making its way back into the garden, the beautifully bright copper tools are real eyecatcher compared to conventional garden tools made of iron. But what about the functionality, care, and durability or longevity? and what else is the copper trend in the garden all about?
Are copper garden tools strong enough for working in the garden?
Copper is far too soft and is therefore not well suited for tilling the soil in the garden, which is why copper tools are not made of pure copper, but of a mixture of 86%-94% copper and the rest tin, which results in bronze.
Bronze is significantly stronger and more stable than copper, in contrast to iron it is significantly more elastic and flexible. This has the advantage that a complete tool breakage can almost be ruled out, minor deformations can be easily corrected by hemming or bending without the risk of breakage. Copper tools are designed for use on cultivated soil, they are not suitable for use in forestry on uncultivated soil, for clearing wood, bushes and roots or on very stony, gravelly soil.
Garden tools made of copper are therefore very well suited for use in the garden, and the particularly long guarantees from the manufacturers speak for themselves in terms of the durability and longevity of the tools.
What is it like working with copper garden tools?
Copper tools are much lighter than conventional iron garden tools, and the soil adhesion is also much lower, which reduces the effort required. The tool edges are sharper and thinner, making soil penetration much easier. Bronze has the property of becoming tougher and more resilient through regular use, the tool edges remain very sharp over a longer period and can be resharpen without loss of material.
After work, the copper tools do not need much care, moisture cannot harm them because copper does not rust. Over time, copper develops a natural patina, which can be polished out if desired. However, this is usually not recommended as the patina offers a natural protective layer against verdigris and corrosion.
(Read more about the care, patina, and verdigris of copper tools here)
How important is copper as a soil nutrient?
Copper occurs in varying amounts in all soils and is a vital trace element for plants, animals, and humans, but it can be toxic in excessive concentrations.
Plants need copper to build their cell walls, to form chlorophyll, to carry out photosynthesis, for various metabolic processes and to bind oxygen radicals. Copper is also antiseptic and antifungal, meaning it naturally protects plants from pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Copper deficiency causes plants to have discolored, curled, or wilted leaves and fruit formation can be disrupted. For example, excessive copper deficiency can prevent grain formation in grain, fruit trees react with crooked shoots and poor fruit set, onions become spongy, and carrots react to copper deficiency with discoloration.
How does using copper garden tools affect the soil and plants in the garden?
The largest field studies on copper tools and their influence on soil and plants go back to the natural scientist Viktor Schauberger and his son Walter Schauberger. They observed that soils treated with copper equipment show better and healthier plant growth and the harvest was up to 20% higher.
Through the regular use of copper tools, the smallest trace elements of copper get into the soil. With this trace element fertilization, you prevent a copper deficiency decisively and supply your plants with the important soil nutrient copper in very small but regular amounts. Soils that are processed with copper tools also show improved management of the water balance, the storage and absorption of water for plants is significantly improved.
Because during the use of iron tools, smallest trace elements of iron get into the soil, they begin to oxidize and form a light veil of rust, which leads to faster evaporation and deeper sinking of the water. Copper is not magnetic, which has the further advantage that the soil's natural stress field is not disturbed.
Garden tools made of copper are strong enough for working in the garden, they are excellent for working on cultivated soil. They also have some advantages over iron tools. They are lighter, the edges are sharper and thinner, and the soil adhesion is much lower, which leads to less effort in work. No maintenance is required after use as copper does not rust. Copper tools are therefore very durable because of the flexibility of the material, tool breakage is virtually impossible. The extraordinarily long manufacturer guarantees underpin the exceptional durability of the tools.
The positive properties of trace element fertilization by copper garden tools are based on observations and field studies, these cannot simply be ignored or labeled as esoteric hocus-pocus. The testimonials from gardeners who use copper tools are nothing but praise.
Yes, copper garden tools are expensive, but the benefits speak for themselves in terms of durability, functionality, and improving soil quality. In addition, most of the copper garden tools are made locally in small, family-run workshops.