Tony O’Neill, gardener and author of the popular “Composting Masterclass” and “Your First Vegetable Garden,” combines lifelong passion and expert knowledge to simplify the art of gardening. His mission? Helping you cultivate a thriving garden. More on Tony O’Neill
Slugs in the garden. It can be problematic. You have invested time and energy in devouring seed starts and mature plants. Every gardener has to deal with these gastropods at some point, but they can be troublesome due to their numbers and the fact they tend to only feed at night or on rainy days. This blog will give you some proven control methods that work.
Unlike snails, slugs don’t carry a shell on their backs. Instead, they have a small, saddle-like plate called a mantle. Because they lack the protection of a body, slugs tend to feed primarily at night or on rainy days when they’re protected from the sun. During the day, they hide under rocks or in other dark, moist locations.
This can make things easier for the gardener to control slugs and snails as it allows you to use methods to trap slugs in the garden.
With a little effort and following the tips in this video, you will soon have beds of soft leaf lettuce like this without worrying about them being destroyed by slugs.
Now don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. We do not want to eradicate slugs from the garden; we want to remove them from areas we are growing our food in. Slugs and snails are very important. They provide food for all sorts of mammals, birds, slow worms, earthworms, and insects and are part of the natural balance.
So the slug control methods we will use here can be utilized in specific areas where you can keep them away or dispose of them and allow other areas in the garden to thrive and provide food for all the wildlife you should have.
Before I continue, you can click the video below to see this blog in video format.
Slug Control Method 1
The very first thing we can do to control slugs in the garden is to bring in wildlife; as already stated, loads of animals will naturally eat slugs and snails in the garden; adding areas for wildlife like this small pond will bring in loads of life that can help remove the pests from areas you do not want them to be.
A pond will bring in birds, frogs, toads, newts, hedgehogs, and many other animals that can do much of the work for you. Remember, when designing your pond, it should have a beach section made of gravel to allow any animals that fall into the pond access to escape it.
I have an older video of how I built this pond and will put a link in the description for you to check out, Along with all other links for videos and products mentioned from this point on.
Slug Control Method 2
Trapping slugs in the garden by placing some upturned rocks or planks of wood and some plastic or tin sheets will all provide shade during the day; as we spoke about earlier, slugs do not have a shell to protect them from the sun, so they hide away during the day, we can use this to our advantage and place in articles to provide somewhere to hide,
We can then go to that place and remove the slugs manually; this makes it very easy to remove large numbers quickly. Another tip here would be to use upturned Orange or grapefruit skins, as slugs love to hide under these, and they don’t look as offensive in your garden.
Slug Control Method 3
Beer Traps are very effective at controlling slugs. They can be as simple as a small bowl, the bottom of a bottle, or even built as a whole unit designedremoveoved and emptied and keep out the rain. If using an open top, place a slate or ridge tile over the tops to keep the rain out and provide shade.
However you decide to build yours, a few things to bear in mind is that you do not need expensive beer for this; your supermarket’s brand will be ideal as it’s the yeast and hops smell that attracts them; Slug will fall into the beer and drown. Do not throw this away, as this liquid can be used in the following method.
Slug Control Method 4
Make slug nematodes
Nematodes are a slug’s worst enemy, There are thousands and thousands of different species, but one species is very effective at killing
slugs in a treated area. Products like Nemaslug can be used; these nematodes are held in a clay base you add to water.
Nemaslug can get expensive if you have large areas to deal with. A few years ago, I made a video on making your nematodes and slug control, and I will put a link for that below. This method works so well that I struggled to find any slugs to make this video on my garden. I had to ask fellow gardeners if I could check their gardens. They were only too happy to oblige, I can tell you.
Slug Control Method 5
All too often, I see gardeners throwing handfuls of Blue Slug pellets all over their food and gardens; these are chemically based, and not only can they contaminate your food, but they can also kill the wildlife you bring into the garden; these pellets don’t stop at the Slug, as the Slug is eaten the chemicals are then passed onto whatever ate it, and this also kills that animal.
However, over the past few years, Wool pellets have been introduced, and these are pretty effective; it’s been discovered that slugs are just as bothered by itchy, rough wool as humans are. They don’t like climbing over the coarse texture.
Slug Gone pellets are made from natural wool that’s been compressed and formed into pellets. The shots are spread around the base of susceptible plants, and then watered, they expand, creating a thick mat of wool that slugs refuse to climb over.
Slug Control Method 6
Suppose you have a container garden or raised beds. In that case, the stick-on copper tape can help with slugs; the copper itself will not be enough but add two strips and a 9v battery your running current through each strip, and the Slug creates a circuit big enough to turn them away from the direction they are going.
FAQs on Slugs in Garden – 6 Proven Control Methods That Work
What is the best way to control slugs?
The best way to control slugs is by using various methods simultaneously: 1. Remove their hiding spots like debris or boards. 2. Set up barriers like copper tape or diatomaceous earth. 3. Handpick and dispose of slugs. 4. Use beer traps or slug pellets sparingly. 5. Encourage natural predators like frogs, birds, or hedgehogs.
What kills slugs in the garden?
Several methods can effectively kill slugs in the garden. These include beer traps, copper barriers, diatomaceous earth, iron phosphate-based slug baits, handpicking, and applying salt or vinegar. Regular inspection and prompt action are crucial to controlling slugs and protecting your plants.
How do I get rid of slugs in my garden naturally?
Certain smells that help keep slugs away include copper, garlic, coffee grounds, citrus peels, and mint. These scents repel slugs and can be used as natural deterrents in gardens and plant beds.
It is important to note that this method assumes you had no slug eggs in your compost; it will only keep slugs out if they were not present before you add this method.
Avoid using mulch such as straw and hay; opt for compost or leaf mold.
The time of day you water your garden can also help. Watering at night will keep the ground moist when the slugs are about; by watering in the morning, the land will dry by night, and they are less likely to stay with you instead of moving onto a garden that gets watered at night.
Utilize drip irrigation instead of overhead watering; this will limit the amount of soil saturated at the surface area.
Be tidy in the garden. Leaving decomposing weeds or plant leaves is like opening the restaurant doors; remove these and place them in the compost. Regarding compost, keep this site away from where you plant your salad leaves and greens. That’s slugs, love.
If I were to pick just two of these methods, it would be the pond and the nematodes, the wildlife will do the bulk of the work for me, and the nematodes can be sprayed on areas of the garden I want to ensure that slugs cannot damage. But you may wish to choose some of the other methods.
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