Get rid of slugs
Slugs, a gardeners worst enemy
How to eradicate slugs from the garden
There are 3 ways to eradicate slugs from the garden, creating a physical barrier, encouraging a predator and using Nematodes. All of these ways are easy to do, cheap and friendly to the environment. So get rid of slugs and ditch those slug pellets. We all know that slug pellets are harmful to the native wildlife, but now there is concern that the build up of the chemicals from pellets in the soil is leading to vegetables containing high amounts of Metaldehyde. Also as the pellets dissolve in water, high amounts of Metaldehyde are entering the water table, into rivers and then into the water in our homes.
You can buy nematodes in packets that you mix with water then apply to your soil. The nematode attack the slugs in the soil, so there is no messy bits to clear up.The Nematode works when the soil reaches a temperature of 5°C/41°F and it's damp. Once watered in they get to work and last for six to eight weeks. I find that after that time most plants have become established and are capable of withstanding an attack. However I find after using nematodes that the slugs are greatly reduced in number. Normally an application twice a year would be sufficient for most gardens.
The cheapest ways to get rid of slugs is to use a physical barrier, now some of these will not kill the slugs but will protect a vulnerable plant from an attack. An example of this is copper bands. These are ideal to use around a container that contains a slug attracting plant like a Hosta. However some things must be considered. The Copper band must be wide enough so the slug can't just raise it's body over it. So I find it is best to use 2 widths. Also make sure a leaf from the plant can't hang down over the copper allowing the slug to avoid the copper by using the leaf as a bridge. As I mentioned a copper band won't kill slugs just give them a nasty shock, so onto other things. One of the most used slug killers are the beer traps. Now when using beer traps there are things to remember. First use a stale beer or a honey and yeast mixture. Lagers can attract slugs but not as well as a yeasty smelly stale beer. Next make sure the trap is deep enough and full enough so the slugs can fall in and drown. Then bury the trap into the soil so the top is at soil level. Now you are going to have to empty the traps and top them up every so often. I use the word traps as you are going to have several if you have a major slug problem.
There are certain animals that will eat slugs, so encouraging these predators into the garden to keep slugs under control is a worthwhile thing to do. The toad loves slugs, so a small pond will attract toads and in turn they will decimate the slug population in your garden. If you haven't room for a pond, find the dampest darkest place in the garden and build a toad house. This can be as simple as a piece of slate on a couple of bricks. If you can provide shelter and food for toads, you will soon have some in your garden. Much the same thing goes for hedgehogs. These little animals forage at night for food, which is when slugs like to move around. A pile of old logs will provide shelter. If you do get a hedgehog in the garden, never feed it milk as it makes them ill. Best to use old cat food, which will also attract slugs. So if the hedgehog doesn't eat the food, you can dispose of it, and the slugs in the morning.
More information about attracting toads
- Toads and frogs
Fed up with slugs and snails eating your plants? Worried about the damage to the environment being done by slug pellets? Then you need the expert help of the common toad and frog. But how can you attract...
Hostas, much loved by slugs
More barriers and traps.
There are more things that you can do to limit a slug attack in the garden. The rind of citrus fruit, placed around vulnerable plants, will capture slugs. Invert the rind near the plant and in the morning get rid of it and the slugs. There are also scratchy barriers that will deter slugs. A thick layer of crushed egg shells placed in a broad circle will stop slugs crossing it to the plant. If you use this check it every now and then, to make certain debris has not fallen on the crushed egg shells, forming a bridge for the slugs to use. Another barrier is to use sandpaper. Cut the sandpaper to make a wide collar to encircle the plant. This will put off slugs getting to your plant. Personally in my garden I use a mixture of these methods. I have copper tape around containers, egg shells around my Hostas and nematodes on the vegetable patch. If you have any other ways to kill slugs please share them. Of course, you could just pick up the slugs when you see them. A tour of your garden at dusk, collecting the slugs you see , will help keep adult slugs from mating.