Ten Top Tips to deal with slugs and snails
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.