Gardens with green vegetation and fresh fruits is the dream of any gardener. There are many enemies whose intention is to scupper that plan and make sure it does not happen. One of the most prominent of those enemies are slugs. They are the uninvited guest that cause harm to the plants and fruits in the garden by eating their leaves as well as the fruits.
Hence, ensuring that your garden retains that green and fresh outlook you desire requires that you make deliberate attempts to ensure that the bad plans slugs have four you and your garden does to prevail. It is appealing to know that there are a lot of techniques that can be employed to make this possible that are natural.
Table of Contents
Different Natural Ways to Get Rid of Slugs in Your Garden
* Deterring Slugs
The most important things a lot of times are not always very sophisticated as such. The simple culture of keeping your garden dry as much as possible will save you from much more than you could imagine. The issue is that because you may not instantly see the result, you may be underrating the impact of that but the fact is that maintaining a dry garden is the most effective slug control technique that will save you a lot of stress, time and energy in the long run.
You have already made your garden the home of slugs when you have a damp and moisture filled garden. In order to deliberately build this culture of making your garden as dry as possible and keep slugs away in the long run, here are some things you can do and take note of.
Build folk remedy barriers. Slugs can really be annoying especially to gardeners and this often make them do anything that comes to their mind in their bid to keep slugs out of their garden. The following are the best of these homemade solutions, you need to know however that they do not guarantee that slugs will definitely be deterred from coming to your garden:
- Sharp, coarse sand scrapes against slugs, but may not deter them completely.
- Coffee grounds may have mild effects on the health of your garden.
- Seaweed is not as effective as plain salt, but perhaps a little safer for your soil. Calcified seaweed meal is more effective in case you are able to lay your hand on it.
Generate a strip barrier made of copper. Buy strips made of copper foil that you are sure is wide enough such that the slugs will not be able to cross it with their bodies. Form a barricade around your plants or planting beds with the strips of copper foil. Just be careful to ensure that young children around you don’t injure themselves with the strips.
Deliberately cultivate plants that deter slugs. There are plants that does not attract slugs as a result of their distinct texture, taste or toxins. Cultivate them in such a way that they form a barrier around the entirety of your garden, or keep one close to the next plant. They are not absolutely efficient but at least they will deter many slugs with little or no labor apart from the labor required to plant them from the onset. If you will like to use this approach, here are some species you can try out:
- Vegetables: Generally, bitter greens are less appealing to slugs unlike their sweet greens counterparts. You can go ahead and cultivate plants such as spring cabbage, kale, or sprouting broccoli.
- Hosta varieties with blue leaves are also resistant.
- Flowers for full shade: Dicentra, Astilbe, Digitalis (foxglove), Lobelia, Viola. You can also try out Ranunculus (buttercups) and Vinca, you must be warned however that they spread rapidly.
- Herbs: ginger, garlic, chives, mint, and chicory.
- Flowers for partial shade: Phlox, Campanula, Hemerocallis. AlsoMentha, but they also spread rapidly and need to be watched closely
Make barriers that are very dangerous to slugs. A lot of materials that will rid slugs straight up exist. Making a barrier with these sort of materials ultimately declares war on the activities of slugs in your garden. It is however important that they are used with caution and kept dry. Using them carelessly can lead to injuries for people as well as animals. Try as much as possible to avoid applying them to surfaces that are non-soil surfaces except where noted:
- Diatomaceous earth: May harm beneficial insects.
- 1% Caffeine spray: Applied directly to the plants you want to protect; kills slugs when they feed. Can negatively affect many plants in unpredictable ways.
- Wood ash: Raises soil pH, which can affect plants.
- Hydrated lime: Raises soil pH greatly. Can make soil uninhabitable for many plants.
Health Hazard: Prevent any form of inhalation of any of these substances or touching with bare hands. It is better not to use these substances in gardens where children or pets play.
Sprinkle salt on non-soil surfaces. The culture of sprinkling salt on the surface slugs tend to crawl around is another means to rid them from your garden because when salt touches them, they are dehydrated massively and they will not be able to survive that. Don’t be oblivious of the fact that salt can easily kill plants and ruin soil. Endeavour to put a barrier on the soil before spreading the salt so as to be able to protect the integrity of the soil. Hence, the salt is better used around the base of potted plants on a porch.
Apart from the soil, also watch out for letting the salt touch water like when rainy weather is likely or a sprinkler is running. The danger of this is that water can dissolve salt and wash it off of the specific surfaces you have applied it initially into the soil thereby leading to an unwanted reduction in soil quality.
Endeavor to wet plants between early to mid-morning, this is an effective measure to ensure that the soil dries before nightfall.
- Work towards avoiding straw or grass clippings (organic mulches)
- Mow the lawn regularly and Keep the yard free of debris.
- Install drip irrigation to reduce the use of water.
- Make sure the space between plants are far enough to allow air flow between them.
Endeavour to make a mulch or tea out of some specific plants. In case you are able to get them in your local garden store, below are some plant preparations that can deter slugs from coming to your garden to a good level:
- Wormwood tea, made from steeping Artemisia cuttings in warm water for 24 hours. Strain and combine with soapy water, then spray onto soil or slugs.
- Oak leaf mulch or tobacco stem meal, spread as a protective cover around plants
* Using Natural Predators
Introduce ground beetles. Naturally, Ground beetles are not friendly to slugs. Hence, deliberately populating your garden with the natural predators of slugs is a sure bet for ridding your garden of slugs. The enemy of my enemy is my friend after all. You can buy the larvae of ground beetles from a gardening store and distribute them through your garden in early spring. The larvae will feed, enter their pupae, and emerge as adult beetles in the summer.
Another method of introducing ground beetles is to offer them a ‘home’ to stay near your plants by providing dry refuges under stones, grass, or straw. They can successfully survive the attack of other predators that way while carrying out the duty you have assigned them to do.
Here comes nematodes. Introducing Nematodes into your soil can also be a viable option to rid your garden of slugs. Nematodes are microscopic parasitic worms that live in soil and they are a thorn in the flesh of slugs. You can buy nematode species particularly for the specific purpose of ‘assassinating’ slugs in your garden at your local gardening store. This can be extremely effective, but the only issue is that once they rid your garden of the current set of slugs. They will die naturally if they can’t find slugs again. Slugs can end up taking advantage of this and return to attack your garden with full force in revenge.
Make birds your friend. There is no other natural predator of slugs better than birds; chickens, robins, ducks, jays, and other common species that has made eating slugs a special delicacy for themselves. You can encourage birds to visit your garden often to pick up some slug meal at will by throwing some at them deliberately. They will take that as an open invitation to come around more often and you would end up solving your slug problem as a result of your alliance with the birds.
You can also encourage your chickens or ducks, in case you have some you rear at home to pick up their own share of the slug meal available in your garden. You need to be very watchful over them anyway because they may end up eating more than just slugs but your plants as well!
Extend the goodwill to the toads as well. Toads, just like birds also enjoy slug meals, and they will feast on not just slugs but some other pest in your garden if you extend an invitation to dine in your garden to them. Turn a pot or other container upside down against a rock to create a dark hiding place for the toads and they will take that as a sign that they are welcome sign to live in your garden. You can also deliberately buy them to do a good job for you if you don’t have the patience of waiting for them to come around by themselves.
* Setting Traps and Hunting
When it comes to traps, there are three techniques you can use to get rid of slugs. They are:
For plants that you perceive are important, make use of milk traps or beer traps. Slugs are not that intelligent, they will only be able to take not of the traps only when they are already very close to it like a meter and that is why you should use this trap for gardens that are not that big or strategic positions in the garden for effectiveness. This is how to go about this:
- In order to prevent the trap from killing not just slugs but beetles that would have been your accomplice in fighting the slugs, ensure you bury a tall cup with steep sides into the ground and make sure that above the soil you leave the rim half inch.
- Then proceed by ensuring that you put beer or milk into the cup.
- In case you discover the slugs are playing smart with you and are climbing out of the cup, use a mix of honey, yeast, and some water, boiled until gluey and make sure you replace every few days.
Slugs love to find comfort in areas that are somewhat dark and has the presence of moistures like below wooden planks, cardboard boxes or flower pots. Hence, you can ensnare slugs by making use of humane traps. Just set up the trap and come back to check every day to find out the slugs that have been caught and you can dispose them somewhere far from your house. Use slug meals such as Cabbage leaves, Citrus fruit rinds moistened with water or Dry pet food if you want the trap to be more effective.
You can also get rid of slugs by making use of a cornmeal trap. Unlike others. The Cornmeal is cheaper, however, the issue is that they may not draw the attention of as many slugs as you would have loved. You want to set up the cornmeal trap, you simply get a jar where you put a tablespoon or two of cornmeal and make sure you make it lay it on its side. Ensure the cornmeal does not come in contact with moisture. The trap rid slugs by expanding inside them.
Liquid traps as well as the cornmeal trap cannot survive water. Hence, it is expedient to prevent water from rainfall get to the traps. Pets should also be watched so that they don’t end up ruining the traps. It will be very good for example if you can erect an overhead cover that will guarantee that rain is kept out. In the event that you suspect that pets that are likely to eat the bait, don’t hesitate to utilize a sturdy cover like an upside-down flowerpot that has a small entrance.
You can also rid your garden of slugs by deliberating going to your garden in the night to look for them and hunt them down. It is true that is easier said than done, however, it is not a sacrifice too much to consider in order to protect your garden particularly when the activities of the slugs becomes too obvious and unbearable. When going for this activity, equip yourself with a flashlight as well as disposable gloves. Go ahead skewering the snails with a stick or just drop them in a pail of soapy water. It will be good too if you have a headlamp because that will guarantee that the hunting exercise is effective and thorough. While hunting, endeavor to check the undersides of leaves and don’t waste time before following any slime trails you were able to notice.
* Chemical Intervention
In case you would like to use make use of chemicals in getting rid of the slugs ravaging your garden, here are some techniques you can consider:
Utilize iron phosphate pellets. Slugs are attracted to iron phosphate pellets and this is good news to you but bad news for them because iron phosphate pellets are poisonous to slugs and that is exactly what you want – poison them. You can get these pellets in garden centers, in order for you to be able to spread them around your yard. This treatment is generally without side effects but you will do well to reduce the rate at which you use them.
Spray slugs with ammonia. You can create a slug killing spray by making a solution of ammonia and water. Mix 1 part plain household ammonia with 6 parts water. Pour this into a spray bottle, and spritz it onto the slugs whenever you see them. Just be careful not to use it directly on the plants, as over time it might burn the leaves.
On a passing note…
Slugs can really make life frustrating for people who own gardens because of their activities. Slugs are specialists in reaping where they do not sow and that really be frustrating for gardeners because of the degree of harm they can leave at their wake. You should have been better equipped to deal with them after reading through this article.