Looking for a way to rid your garden and flowerbeds of slugs this year and stop them from damaging your plants? And do it without having to resort to harsh chemicals and sprays?
Slugs cause serious damage to vegetable plants, annuals and perennial flowers. In the blink of an eye, they can destroy an entire crop of lettuce, or chew hole after hole in cucumber plants, tomato plants and more. If that wasn’t bad enough, they can decimate the foliage of perennials beyond repair.
What makes slugs so difficult to defend against is that they can do all of their damage almost completely out of sight. Slugs are night-shift workers, coming out in the moist, cool temperatures of the overnight hours to feast and dine on almost anything with greenery.
Unfortunately, by morning they are usually nowhere to be found. As the sun begins to rise, slugs take cover on the underside of leaves or bury themselves in the soil below the very plants they love to eat.
It is certainly one of the reasons they can be so difficult to combat. After all, it’s hard to fight an enemy you can barely see and one that works when you are usually sleeping!
But there are ways to stop slugs in their tracks. And best of all, it doesn’t require commercial pesticides or chemical sprays. Here is a look at 6 simple and natural ways to keep slugs from ruining your plants – and your garden season.
6 Simple Methods To Get Rid Of Slugs
1) Hand Picking
By far, early morning hand picking is the fastest and one of the most effective natural methods for slug control. In fact, when hand picking is done on a regular basis, it can almost eliminate a slug population entirely.
Although slugs go to work at night, most continue to chew away into the first few hours of the morning daylight. As the sun begins to rise, it’s still cool and wet enough to allow them to work. Because of this, they are extremely easy to spot and hand pick at this point from the foliage of plants.
For hand picking, begin by placing a few drops of liquid dish soap in a bucket. Plain water will not kill slugs, but the soapy water will. The oils in the soap create a film over their slimy skin that prevents oxygen from getting through.
As you walk through your plants, be sure to turn leaves over to look underneath. It is here where most slugs will hide from predators and the impending hot sun. You will be amazed at after just a few days of hand picking, how much you can reduce the overall slug population.
Yes, you have to get up on the early side, but it’s worth it! One final note, do not dump the dead slugs out near your flowerbeds or garden. Believe it or not, the decaying slug scent will actually attract even more to the area.
2) Crushed Egg Shells – 6 Simple Methods To Get Rid Of Slugs
Crushed egg shells are one of the best natural defenses of all when it comes to stopping slugs from damaging your plants.
The soft, slimy exterior of the slug’s body are easily damaged by the rough, course make-up of crushed egg shells. In fact, as they try to inch over top of them, the jagged edges of the shells slice into there soft skins, killing them in the process.
To protect plants, simply crush up a few egg shells and scatter them around the main stem of the plant. Don’t over-crush the shells, simply break them down into small 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces. This smaller size will allow you to easily ring the plant with protection.
Not only will the egg shells keep the slugs from slithering up the stem, as they break down, they will also add calcium and other trace minerals and nutrients to your soil – helping to both power and protect your plants at the same time! See: How To Use Egg Shells In The Garden – Protect & Power Your Plants!
3) Protective Collars – 6 Simple Methods To Get Rid Of Slugs
Slugs are not exactly the best of attackers when it comes to getting access to plants. In fact, their only path to a plant is to slowly slither up the main stem to the tasty foliage above. That is exactly why the ring of egg shells works so well – as will putting a simple plant collar around each of your stems.
It’s quite easy, if you cut off the access, you eliminate a slug’s path to destruction. And plant collars work like a charm for this. Even better, they are a snap to make and install.
To create plant collars, take toilet paper or paper towel rolls and cut them into two inch sections. Then, slit the roll and slide it like a collar around each plant. The height and smooth roll is more than enough to keep slugs from climbing up. Plant collars are especially effective for vegetable plants with thick stems like tomatoes and peppers.
4) Beer, Sugar & Yeast Traps – 6 Simple Methods To Get Rid Of Slugs
One of the most common natural methods to attract and stop slugs is with beer, sugar or yeast traps. It’s common because it really does work well to attract and kill the slugs!
It is not the actual taste of beer that slugs love. It is instead the yeast and sugar in it that attracts them by the dozen. If you prefer not to use beer, you can make your own homemade solution with a gallon of water, a yeast packet, and a half cup of sugar.
Small, low-ridged containers (tuna cans work great) filled with beer or the sugar/yeast solution then allow the slugs to climb in, but not out. The slugs then drown in the solution from overeating.
If you prefer a cleaner look, small, inexpensive snail traps can be purchased and buried in your garden or flowerbed soil. They can then be filled with the beer or sugar liquid to catch, kill and stop the slugs quickly.
With the snail traps, a lid goes over top once the trap is buried in the soil. It is a clean look with no open lid cans laying around your garden. Product Affiliate Link: Snail Traps
5) Melon Rinds – 6 Simple Methods To Get Rid Of Slugs
Melon rinds are another great option for attracting and stopping slugs naturally. Slugs love the wet, sweet taste of watermelon, muskmelon and cantaloupe. They will quickly find the rinds of the melons when placed near your plants.
To use, take leftover rinds and place them flesh side down on top of the soil or mulch. The slugs will congregate in droves and stay on the rind since the flesh side is underneath and out of the sunlight. All you need to do is scrape them into a bucket of soapy water each morning! You can actually re-use a rind for several nights to continue to trap the slugs in infested areas.
Last but not least on the list in the fight against slugs are spent coffee grounds. Coffee grounds truly are a gardeners best friend! They help power plants and protect them at the same time – including defending against slug damage.
Just as with egg shells, the thin exterior of the slug’s body is easily damaged by the rough, course coffee grounds. To protect plants, place the coffee grounds around the stem in a small pile to create a barrier.
Just as the egg shells do, the coffee grounds will also release nutrients back into the soil as they break down – providing double duty for your plants. Here is to protecting your plants this year from slugs – naturally!
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