How To Stop Slugs & Snails Eating Plants

We have a treat in store for you guys. We’re going to be talking about pest control, how to stop slugs and snails eating plants.

Some of you may well be at the end of your tether fighting a battle with the slugs but there are solutions which we will run through with you.

There’s nothing more frustrating than finding dozens of holes in your plants or your recently planted out veggies being completely eaten. Slugs and snails will even attack your herbs, not just your leafy greens or brassicas. In fact, I recall a slug last year getting into our greenhouse and devouring my Goji Berry trees just weeks after they germinated.

Slugs don’t care what they eat but believe it or not they’d rather not eat your crops, instead they’d much prefer to munch of something else. Trouble is, most of the time we grow our vegetables all in the same area, so when slugs stumble upon a tasty treat and then realise there’s another next to it and another and another, if left unchecked they could go through the lot.

Slugs can easily devour a dozen lettuces in a week, however, if you grew a field of lettuce, you’d hardly notice a few have been gnawed on. So it boils down to quantity. If you only have a few leady greens and half a dozen slugs, sadly the slugs will win.

THE BEST SLUG CONTROL IS…

One of the best, most successful and proven ways to deal with slugs, is simply to round them up. Yes, it’s true. Going on a slug hunt is far more effective than anything else.

This does mean you will need a torch and venture out into the garden after dark, if it’s been raining, it’s even better as slugs like to move across wet surfaces.

Look under leaves and grass, check alongside damp wood for example, if you have raised beds and long grass around the edge, check there too. When you find a slug, simply put it into a flower pot and within several minutes you should end up with a fair few.

If you have ducks, they’ll eat them for you, if not you can drown them or simply move them to a new area, such as a compost heap where they actually do more good than harm there.

REDUCING SLUG NUMBERS

Good housekeeping, or “Gardenkeeping” is a good way to mitigate the risk of loosing your plants to hungry slugs.

Be sure to tidy up the garden and don’t leave anything that could be a lovely home for slugs. They love damp shaded areas, so bits of damp wood, flower pots or even long areas of grass are all perfect environments for slugs.

Slugs especially like shaded damp areas so be sure to check those regularly.

How To Stop Slugs & Snails Eating Plants

WILDLIFE

Hedgehogs, frogs and ducks all love snails and slugs. If you can encourage them into your garden all the better. Not everyone can keep ducks but you can encourage hedgehogs and create an environment for frogs.

One option would be to create a small pond, it doesn’t have to be the size of a pothole either! Even a bucket buried in the ground with a way in which any critters can get out if they fall in would do.

Just make sure it doesn’t dry out. Frogs also need some protection from the sun, so an area in the garden with some long tall grass or leavy plants would be ideal. At night they venture out and scoff those pesky slugs.

DIATOMACEOUS EARTH

Diatomaceous earth is a unique type of sand that consists of fossilized algae. In it’s finely crushed form, the fine powdered earth is like talcum powder and as such absorbs the mucus from the pests, which they dislike.
The downside is that is can be expensive and you need to reapply it after rain. Diatomaceous Earth only works on dry soil.

WOOL & STRAW

How To Stop Slugs & Snails Eating Plants

Some people have had success using sheep’s wool. The trouble is it needs to be kept dry. As mentioned earlier, slugs love moving around in damp and wet conditions. If the surface area is too dry, it can prevent them from creating that shiny slimey mucus.

Straw can sometimes be affective but whilst it works for some, it fails to prove worthy for others. Crushed eggshells are another popular method, though I’ve yet to see really noticeable results.

BEER

Beer has always been one of the favourite options but why waste beer. You can use a flour, water, yeast and sugar mix which will offer the same effect.

Beer is used to trap slugs and they then drown in the beer. It’s a myth that they get drunk, they don’t. The slugs are attracted to sweet sugary liquid, once they lean over a ramakin filled with beer for example they then fall in, are unable to slither back out and subsequently drown.

HERBS AND FLOWERS

Using herbs can be a good deterrent. The potent smell of some herbs can actually mask the smell of the crop next to it that you’re protecting and subsequently, the snails sometimes move on past.

Nasturtiums and Marigolds can be a good option especially for caterpillars who will devour the Nasturtiums before eating your leafy greens.

How To Stop Slugs & Snails Eating Plants

COPPER TAPE OR SHARP EDGES

Some claim that snails and slugs won’t cross over strips of copper, however, having tried this, I’ve yet to see it actually work. Maybe you need a wide strip of it?

Sharp edges are another consideration. Some have success from brocken egg shells or sharp plastic bottles, again, this hasn’t worked for me.

PROTECTION.

I have had much success with 2ltr soda bottles. Simply cut the bottom off, remove the cap and place over your young plants.

Slug protection

CHEMICALS AND SLUG PELLETS 

I would never use chemicals or slug pellets, they are incredibly poisonous and I wouldn’t ever consider using them near food I’m going to eat.

NEEM OIL.

Neem oil has been very successful for me personally. I mix one teaspoon with 1 litre of hot water and a few drops of biodegradable dishwashing soap.

Put into a spray bottle and shake vigorously. This can be sprayed onto edibles without any issues. Just be sure to give them a rinse before eating.

Neem oil is naturally sourced from the neem tree and is perfectly safe.

BRAMBLES & THORNY PLANTS

Believe it or not, growing raspberries (not the thornless variety) can be very useful. Not only do they provide food for you and wildlife, they can also be used to deter slugs and snails. The slugs and snails will avoid the sharp thorns.

 

At the end of the day, nature will balance itself out, sometimes this can be frustrating though. Just remember, slugs actually can do some good in the garden, especially in compost heaps.

One of the most difficult things to realise is that things look worse when you’ve only planted a couple of lettuces or a couple of cabbages. My advice is to interplant using companion plants and spread things around a little to mitigate the risk of loss.

This excellent book will provide knowledge and help on companion planting.

Just because youtube says grow all the same variety on one raised bed doesn’t mean you have to!

There’s quite a few options here to be getting on with. So give some a try. Please leave a comment below if you have any suggestions or successes with pest control in your garden.

Until next time. Thanks for reading..

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