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Ten Top Tips to deal with slugs and snails

Updated on October 14, 2012
Slugs and snails will feast on your garden plants if they get a chance to do so
Slugs and snails will feast on your garden plants if they get a chance to do so | Source

Slugs and snails are a real headache for the gardener because they do so much damage to plants.They are similar except for the fact that a snail has a shell and a slug doesn't.There are many ways of disposing of them in an organic way.Organic methods of dealing with them focus on reducing their numbers in the context of limiting the damage they do to certain plants.It is a bad idea to use commercial slug pellets because these also poison the birds that eat the slugs and snails but the following are nature-friendly tips for dealing with slugs and snails in your garden.

1.Gravel or eggshells

Using sharp gravel or eggshells mulched around the plants is a useful tip.It makes it difficult for the slugs to travel over so they cannot get near the plants.

2.Cat litter or bran

Alternatively,one can use cat litter or bran around the plants.These are moisture absorbent making it difficult for the slug or snail to travel on as the cat litter or bran absorbs the secreted slime on which they move along.

3. Beer traps

Cut the bottom six inches of a plastic bottle.Dig a four inch deep hole for it with a trowel and when you have "planted" it,fill it with beer.Because slugs and snails have such a good sense of smell,they will be lured into this beer trap where they will drown.Cold coffee can be used just as effectively as beer for this trap.

4.Natural predators

The hedgehog and many birds are natural predatorsof slugs and snails and should be encouraged to visit the garden as much as possible.Indeed,those who have ducks or hens can let them forage in the garden to reduce the population of slugs and snails by eating them.


Copper is another barrier method for repelling slugs and snails.Copper tape is available from garden centers or rings of copper can also be used.The copper contains an electrical charge which repels the slugs or snails from crossing it.

6 By hand

Handpicking the snails or slugs off your plants and dropping them into soapy water is another way of reducing their population in your garden but it doesn't always appeal to those who aren't keen to handle these slimy creatures.A tweezers or a small tongs can be used to avoid getting the unwanted slime on your hands.

7.Shade traps.

Slugs and snails don't like getting dried out in the sun.You can trap them by providing flat boards or upturned flower pots for them to crawl under.They will take refuge under these for the shade they offer from the heat of the sun.They can then be collected and discarded from these traps.It is best to place these traps out in the evenings and check them in the mornings to dispose of the slugs collected under them.

8 Sandpaper

Another barrier method for preventing damage to your vulnerable plants is to make sandpaper collars for around them or use the sandpaper rings from circular sanders.Snails and slugs find it difficult to move on the rough surface so will leave your plants alone.

9.Thorny plants

Another way of creating a barrier around your plants to prevent slugs and snails from getting to them is to put holly leaves,thistles or small twigs of thorny plants on the ground around them.

10. Plants

Some plants that repel slugs and snails are lavender,geranium and mint.These can be grown safely in your garden without fear of them being attacked by the slimy creatures.

So now you have an arsenal of organic techniques to prevent slugs and snails from doing damage to the precious plants in your garden

Happy gardening and may the slugs and snails in your garden be few and far between.

Do you have slugs and snails in your garden?

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    • Kate Mc Bride profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate McBride 

      6 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      A slug or snail in your garden is not a welcome sight if you have plants that you don't want them to eat.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Definitely helpful too me just the other day I saw a slug in the garden

    • Kate Mc Bride profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate McBride 

      6 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      It is good that the salt works for you because as you say, too many of them would be most unpleasant. Thanks for your feedback and for taking the time to comment.

    • Astralrose profile image


      6 years ago from India

      During rainy season every year our farm is full of snails and slugs. They are too many to manage and too creepy to walk around because of their extreme number. We do salting. A sack or two of salt is sufficient for the entire rainy season.It is very helpful. Their number decrease drastically although some still manage to come back. We use dust pan to remove these dead snails and slugs.

    • Kate Mc Bride profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate McBride 

      6 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      Thanks for your comment and you are right about the hedgehogs.You would think the bristle doormat and gravel would put them off. It is definitely time for using the beer trap in your garden-at least they will die happy:-)

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 

      6 years ago from uk

      We have way more slugs and snails than usual this year. Our driveway is gravelled, but the snails still manage to slither across. Even the bristle doormat has silver slug trails some mornings. Will give the beer trap a go, thanks for reminding me of that tip. Wouldn't want the local hedgehogs to chew on a poisoned slug.


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