Let’s get real here: slugs are gross. That’s not to say they can’t be beneficial, because they can. They add all kinds of organic stuff to your soil by blending dead plants into compost. A good thing, right? That said, they sometimes go a little too far and start recycling (or eating) our prized fruits, veggies, or flowers. Sometimes, there are just too many of them “slugging” around and things need to be balanced out. Well, if you’ve been fighting this battle, here’s how to keep slugs (and snails) from destroying your garden.
1. Don’t Overwater
Slugs and snails love water, and you can likely decrease your watering without harming your plants. Start by cutting back just a couple of minutes at a time and see how far you can get. Also, make sure you’re only watering your beds — not sidewalks or paths. Using a drip line instead of sprinklers can help a lot.
2. Take Away Hiding Spots
If you have piles of dirt, rocks, or other debris around your garden, clean them out. Slugs and snails are probably hiding — and breeding — in there. Ewww. You’d be better off to find another use for rocks, such as a dry bed.
3. Till it Deep
For beds that you re-plant with vegetables or annuals every year, try tilling before planting. You’ll help disrupt slug and snail eggs from maturing.
Slug and snail traps are a safer alternative to poisons. There are lots of DIY trap ideas that you might want to try.
Baiting slugs and snails is quicker and easier than traps. Just be careful to follow the directions for safety. These are poisons that can be hazardous to people and pets. Iron phosphate baits are the safer kind.
Snakes, ground beetles, frogs, and lizards are natural enemies to slugs and snails. If none of those are handy (or you think they’re worse than the slugs), one of the other options probably suits you better. If you incorporate a rock garden somewhere in your landscape, it will likely attract these natural enemies eventually, and your slug population will decrease. At my house, we had a problem with slugs and snails until we got ducks. Since then, no more problem. They look like vicious snail eaters, don’t they?