When planting a garden, slug menace and snails seem to show up in many gardens.
Small in size compared to other “garden pests” slugs and snails can cause lots of damage to your plants and garden.
Trying to get rid of garden slugs can be a challenge. Most garden owners use commercial slug pellets.
Going that route is not the best idea. For starters, when rains arrive the commercial slug bait becomes less effective.
You cannot take advantage of this product at a time when a garden is bound to have the snails and slugs active and feeding.
The other downside is the fact these commercial slug control products happen to be toxic. Hence, they can be harmful to the different wildlife and birds, typically found in a garden.
Throw in the desire to grow organically, and you eliminate some of the slug control options right away.
There are many non-toxic natural ways by which you can get rid of slugs in your garden. Our favorite is using diatomaceous earth for controlling slugs and snails in the garden.
Read on you’ll find 9+ all-natural ways to battle slugs and snails in the garden. Check them out below.
Change Your Watering Schedule
The snail and slug are known to be active during the night and comfortable in wet conditions.
Making simple adjustments to your watering schedule can effectively reduce slug damage in your garden.
So, if you have slug problems and you water in the evening, switch the water schedule. Water in the morning instead as plants and the ground will have ample time to dry up before nightfall.
Use Diatomaceous Earth In Your Garden
Commonly known as insect dust, one of the many uses of Diatomaceous Earth is for controlling slugs and snails.
DE the remains of skeletal microscopic creatures. It’s sharp and jagged, scratching soft-bodied pests such as slugs leading to their dehydration.
Apply Diatomaceous Earth as a powder, sprinkled around plants and garden beds. It can also be mixed with water and applied as a foliar spray.
Always purchase Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (buy it here) for use in the garden to enjoy all the advantages of natural and non-toxic slug control.
Use Seaweed As A Soil Amendment
Get your hands on some seaweed. Besides being an excellent natural slug repellent, it also happens to be a good soil amendment.
Slugs don’t like seaweed because it is salty and slugs hate salty stuff.
You need to mulch it around the perimeter of bed or base of the plant. Pile the seaweed about 3” to 4” inches thick. When mulching, keep seaweed away from plant stems.
Use of Copper Tape Strips
With the help of non-toxic Slug Shield (copper based) you can effectively keep away slugs.
This metallic mesh can be wrapped around the flower pots or placed in the soil on edge to make a barrier/fence like construction.
- Cut 2 inches of copper and attach it round the lower part of the flower pot.
- Copper strip barriers will be effective around the wood barrels bring utilized as a planter.
Slug shields are not only weather-proof, non-toxic metallic and reusable but it also happens to quite long-lasting.
But why the mesh is made with copper? Well, a slug will get a mild shock (electric like shock) when it will come in contact with copper. Hence, the product is made with copper only.
Add Coffee Grounds To Soil
According to a study in June 2002 in the journal Nature stated:
“We have discovered that solutions of caffeine are effective in killing slugs or repelling slugs and snails when applied to foliage or the growing medium of plants.”
They discovered that slugs die when sprayed with a caffeine solution. The study also suggested spraying the caffeine solution on the plants to ensure slugs do not eat them.
Note: The caffeine required to kill off the slugs are at a higher percentage than what it is in a normal cup of coffee. The rate is based a natural caffeine based commercial spray. The caffeine percentage required is a solution of 1-2%.
You can protect the plants in your garden to some extent with regular coffee grounds. Sprinkle a very small amount of used coffee grounds on top of the soil to ensure slugs can’t come in contact with the plants.
Install An Electronic Slug Fence
An electronic slug fence is a safe, non-toxic method for slug and snail control. The fence is twenty-four-foot-long, with a 5-inch ribbon like barrier “powered” by a 9-volt battery.
When slugs and snails touch the fence, they get a mild electronic shock. It will not kill the slugs, it only makes them look for somewhere else to forage.
The “slug fence” will not harm other animals. So, your pet, birds and different wildlife will be safe from the fence.
Give Them Some Stale Beer
Beer traps are a popular option. Slugs and snails love beer! Take a wide, shallow jar and put in a little stale beer. Bury the jar in the soil to the neck level.
Prop up the lid using a small stick or stone to avoid rain diluting the beer. Leave enough space for the snails and slugs to enter the trap.
When the slugs crawl inside the jar for beer, they drown, thus ending your slug problem.
Setting A Trap With Black Plastic, Grapefruit and Overturned Flowerpot
When it comes to a natural method of slug control, you can get rid of lots of slugs at the same time by capturing them via a trap.
Consider overturning a flowerpot and/or keeping grapefruit halves near the plants the slugs attack the most.
This kind of trap will lure in many slugs which you can get rid of all at once with the help of organic slug killer.
Besides these, if at night you keep black plastic or a wood board near the plant, in the morning you will see slugs taking shelter in their “hiding places” for the day. You can also use this opportunity to kill them.
Slug Repellents Made With Garlic
Several brands like ECOspray Ltd. and others are introducing effective natural garlic based slug repellents. More and more studies and test results are showing highly refined garlic product can kill slugs. [source]
Barriers made with lava rock make it difficult for the slug to get to the plants. Like DE the insect dust, it happens to have an abrasive surface.
Put Crushed Eggshells Around Plants
Crushing egg shells and sprinkling them around plants works sort of like diatomaceous earth. Eggshells also work as a soil amendment when they decompose.
Pick Them Off By Hand
Overturn a flower pot, prop up the rim with a stone. Leave overnight, slugs will crawl under it and you can easily pick them off and dispose of them.
Grapefruit halves as mentioned above work in a similar way and have the advantage of the good smell of fruits acting as bait.
Setting a wide board on the ground in affected areas is also a simple method. The slugs will crawl under the board.
Give Slugs A Dash Of Salt!
Visit your garden at night with a flashlight and salt shaker. Look for the plant damage by inspecting the leaves even on the underside.
Sprinkle a little salt on the slugs and watch them die!. This is the last resort and not particularly pleasant. Don’t use too much salt, it can hurt the soil.
Commercial Slug Baits
Commercial slug baits are made with two different formulations: Ferric Sodium and Ferric Phosphate.
Ferric Phosphate happens to be non-toxic in nature and effectively reduce slug problems.
Ferric Sodium is toxic in nature and is effective in controlling slugs. However, when using commercial slug baits select products which contain a Ferric Phosphate formulation.
Note: Use this product somewhere near the plants and not directly on it or on the bed.
This product takes time to kill slugs, meaning a slug can damage the plant to some extent before dying.
But, if they come in contact with this product before reaching the plant, then they will die on the way only.
So, there you have it, some of the most effective natural slug control materials and methods. Try these methods to effectively remove slugs from your garden.
Have more methods to share? Let us know!