Thursday, June 4, 2009



The battles and the war

Although you may never win the war against snails and slugs entirely, you owe it to your plants to fight them with every weapon at your disposal. You can control slug populations with several different methods. With each battle which you win, you have prevented hundreds of new slugs from hatching.

The battlefield

As with any battle plan, it is to your advantage to be able to set the field. Set your field by cleaning your garden, and eliminating the places where the slugs hide, sleep, and reproduce.

  • Pulling the weeds from your garden is something you need to do anyway. As you pull each weed, you remove a potential slug outpost.

  • Keep all decaying matter cleaned out of your garden beds. While leaves make a good mulch, once they begin to compost they become food and shelter for slugs and snails.

  • Prune the branches of any shrubs which are laying on the ground. Keep the old leaves and such cleaned out. By doing this you will have destroyed yet another slug haven!

  • Cultivate your soil regularly to keep the dirt clods broken up, and unearth any slugs which may have burrowed under the surface.

  • The shaded areas beneath decks can be a slug arena: keep them weed and litter free.

  • Just about anything can become a slug home. Boards, rocks, pots and other gizmos should be kept out of the garden.

  • Keep the lawn edges trimmed. Slugs will congregate under the umbrella of unkept grass.

The weapons

For the sake of the environment, it is better to make an effort to control slugs and snails without using chemicals and poisons before you resort to chemical warfare.
Hand to hand combat

  • Keep slug pokers stuck around the garden at random. Meet your enemy, one on one... Your weapon is at hand, impale them!

  • Fill a small bowl with stale beer. Put it in the areas where the slugs are active. Stale beer attracts the slugs and they drown. You may also use grape juice or a tea made from yeast, honey and water.

  • An early morning stroll around the garden, salt shaker in hand will often result in many casualties for the bad guys.

  • Destroy any and ALL slug eggs you find!

  • Bait and destroy tactics work. Set a pile of slightly dampened dry dog food in an area frequented by slugs. In the morning and evening visit the feeding station a few times.... slug poker in hand!
Battle lines

  • Cedar bark or gravel chips spread around your plant will irritate and dehydrate slugs.

  • The sharp edges of crushed eggshells around the plants will cut and kill slugs. The calcium in the eggshells is a good soil amendment anyway!

  • Sprinkle a line of lime around your plants. (Obviously this won't work around plants requiring a more acidic soil)

  • Certain herbs (Rosemary, lemon balm,wormwood, mints, tansy, oak leaves, needles from conifers and seaweed will repel slugs. However using a mulch of these plants will only turn thhe slugs away, in search of other food sources.

  • Oat bran will kill slugs when they eat it... sprinkle some around.

  • Enlist allies..... snakes, ducks, geese, toads, would enjoy helping you out as they dine on your slugs.
above material taken from The Garden Helper

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