Garden Markers


Appseed70, that was a great link. Thanks. Had no idea there was so many variables to tinting copper. Not sure how toxic or dangerous it is to use them. I am know thinking of getting the copper tags and using them where human (bums) eyes can see them. Longevity is also very important.

Drew, I think there is also an over the counter paste from hardware dealers that will be more user friendly, cheaper and possibly safer. I would also want a more robust wire for grafts. Our huge coastal ravens have beaks like wire cutters!!!


bberry-- Try industrial sharpie markers on the slats from a plastic Venetion blind, this was recommended on another forum for plant row markers and works well.
Aluminium recycled from disposable aluminum containers like pie pans also works good for longer term markers for trees and can be found in different guages-- just remember to paint them befor you cut them up–it is much easyer that way.


I tried making my own markers from Aluminum flashing and it was a real PITA. My hand cramped up after a few letters. The flashing was just too stiff to comfortably write on. What I plan to try next is the foil tape used to seal duct work or disposable pie pans. I think it will be much softer and easier to write on.


You may or may not like this information. You have an agent for creating a nice blue/green copper patina, that you throw away every day.

Urine makes a great copper patina agent. I used it for my copper beehive roof. I poured urine into a spray bottle and sprayed the roof. It took a few efforts. I did find that it tended to dry up too fast, so sprayed, then covered with plastic wrap for a few days. The roof became somewhat blue-green, then greened up much better over a couple of months. Urine is a time-worn method to create a blue-green patina on copper. The reason is the reaction of urea with copper ions. I read this method was used by roofers in the past, to get a quick patina tocopper flashing. I don’t know if that is true.


Bear…that is indeed very interesting but I have to say…gross! :stuck_out_tongue:


Talk about “marking your territory”!
I can afford that method at least.


I did a check on the industrial sharpie. They claim to be more durable. They are also a good buy and come in a fine tip. Can anyone attest to their long term non fading characteristics?

I like to cut up the pop cans for tags and they are very durable in the orchard. Easy to write on too. A heavy wire is easy to find. The wire needs to be also aluminum to prevent an electrolytic reaction.


@bberry I just ordered some from amazon $5.95 pack of 12
I’ll report back, I should have plenty of heat and humidity down in South Alabama to do a test.

@lerie Thanks for the tip on Sharpie Pro Industrial had not ever seen them before.


If you are using ink pens on tags it would probably be better to make them ahead of time so you can put a clear coat on them for additional environmental protection.


That is a great price on the Sharpies.

I forgot to mention that I cut up the pop cans with just a good pair of scissors. They cut easy and fast.


Berry you can use stainless wire. Stainless doesn’t cause electrolytic action.


Supposedly miracle grow in water will also work. I dont know what dilution to use. Again its the nitrogenous content, I surmise.


Good to know on the stainless. I have a lot of Al wire but the ss would be stronger.

Not sure if apple cider vinegar would work. How about household ammonia?

Those vibrating marker pens with a small round tip might emboss very nicely on thin sheet stock.


I cut up old pop cans into labels. They last for decades. I engrave on them with old ballpoint pens that don’t work any more. Talk about cheap, and under local control. Every time I go out with my kids I pick up litter so I’m showing a good example to them. I cut a hole in them with a single hole punch and tie a string. DOne. Cheap. Easy.
John S


You mean the same punch one uses for punching paper? Or do you mean a actual metal punch tool?


For those who use the pop cans (of course I would have to use soda cans around here), what do you do about sharp edges? Do you use something to take the edge off or are you just careful working around them?


The paper punch works but made too big of a hole. I bought a 1/16 paper punch from a craft store. Works excellent.

The sharp edges don’t seem to be an issue. Also the soda cans come in a large array of colors. They do fade over time to the shiny metal but now I will give them a little shot of flat black. Maybe the high heat barby paint will be more durable.


I just topworked a mature pomegranate that had poor fruit using 4 better varieties’ scions bark grafted and cleft grafted on top. The dozen grafts were wrapped below with a single 1/2" wide strip of plastic colored tape in which each variety had it’s own color, and a note was written with the color code for future reference. This note goes in a folder for poms along with other pertinent graft info. A very old pom finally got dug up after slowly dying off due to root rot, and under a couple inches of soil by the trunk was the original, lost, 1-1/2" round, thick, aluminum tag with the variety name and planting date as legible as ever from the Dremel engraving tool’s writing on each side of the tag. Note to self: never use any more white plastic tie-wraps to fasten tags to trees, because they won’t last fifteen years in the sunlight.


Yes, the one for punching paper. It works great. I found one at a thrift store for a dollar. Before that, I poked a hole with a nail.
JOhn S


interesting…I might give that a try.