Controlling Snails and Slugs In Your Garden

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Egg Cluster

If you live in an area that is damp, you are more then aware of snail and slug damage in your garden. A single snail or slug can successfully get rid of an entire row of seedlings from your garden in no time at all. They can turn pretty green leaves into small slices of swiss cheese overnight. Several times a year, a slug or snail can lay two to three dozen offsprings at a time! Egg clusters look like small white spheres (similar to the size of a ‘BB’.) Eggs will begin to hatch in anywhere from 10 days to three weeks. Newly hatched snails and slugs will eat many leaves and plants as they mature from eggs to adulthood (This can take as little as six weeks!) To eliminate your problem you want to destroy the eggs when you see them. So they don’t have a chance to hatch and eat your garden. However, this isn’t always an option- you realize you have a snail/slug problem once its too late. Here are some methods to help cope with mature snails and slugs in your garden.

  • Keep all decaying matter from your beds. While leaves make a good mulch once they have died, they also become a good home and food source for snails and slugs. This also means, keeping out leaves from underneath shrubs that are near to the ground.
  • Cultivate your soil regularly, to keep clods of dirt from building up (This also unearths slugs which have burrowed under the surface!)
  • Keep shaded areas beneath decks clean (i.e. remove weeds and litter.)
  • Anything that can be used as a home for these pests should be kept out of the garden. These include boards, large rocks, pots ect.
  • Keep edges of your lawn trimmed. Slugs are known to congregate under the shade of unkept grass.
  • You can keep slug pokers around your garden, so when you come to face your nemesis you have the upper hand.
  • There is the option to fill a small bowl with stale beer and keep it in areas where slugs are active. They are attracted to the drink, and when they climb in they drown. Besides beer, you can make a mix of yeast, honey and water or even use plain old grape juice!
  • An old fashioned method heard from everyone is to take an early morning walk around the garden and shake some salt on the suckers (this is not always the most humane way however.)
  • Enlisting animals even works! Snakes, ducks, geese, toads, and Rhode Island Reds enjoy dining on slugs.
  • You can set a pile of slightly dampened dry dog kibble in a busy area, and check every morning with slug poker in hand.
  • Natural Barriers can work, and they include:
    • Cedar bark or gravel chips around your plants will irritate and dehydrate slugs.
    • Putting crushed eggshell around plants will also help by not only cutting and killing slugs, but by adding necessary calcium to your soil!
    • Certain herbs will repel slugs. They are rosemary, lemon balm, wormwood, mints, tansy, oak leaves, needles from conifers and seaweed.
    • Oat bran will kill slugs if ingested, so you can sprinkle some of that down. Natural barriers do exist, and work they include
  • Traps can also be helpful. You can create a slug trap by using a simple plastic bottle. Heres how!
    • Cut a plastic bottle in half and then invert the top part of the bottle into the bottom part to create a no escape entryway. The slug bait can be placed inside the bottle and will draw the slugs in where they will die.

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      Slug Trap

Thank you to The Garden Helper for the original information. You can read more here.

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