Sunday, October 18, 2020

Battling Slugs in the Garden

 Battling Slugs in the Garden


Besides being darn ugly and slimy, slugs look like snails without the shells. They love to chew on plant leaves, and if they're not battled early, they can ruin the look of your plants for an entire season.

Slug damage can appear as multiple holes chewed through the leaves of the garden plants as shown above. The most damage will be done to plant varieties with thinner leaves that are easier for the slugs to chew, like hostas.

When are slugs active?

Slugs come out when it's cool and dark; the wetter the ground stays, the more the slugs populate it. They can also be spotted on cool, cloudy days.

Now the good part ...
How to get rid of them!

Chemical Products

There are many chemical products on the market that will kill slugs including Sluggo or Ortho Bug-Geta Snail and Slug. They do work, but for an organic garden, non-chemical approaches are favored.

Non-Chemical Approaches

If you want a more organic way of getting rid of the little buggers, here are some suggestions that work well.

Change Their Environment

You want to make it less inviting for those slug families. There are several ways you can do this. 

  • They love the moist ground, so replace the old mulch that no longer drains well to a fresh mulch which will dry out faster. This will make it less hospitable to slugs. 
  • Slugs are soft-bellied creatures. To make it more difficult for the slug to travel plant to plant, you can put down a rough-edged material like lava rocks around the plants. They won't want to crawl over that. Any coarse material like crushed eggshells will do. 
  • Place an Epsom Salt ring around the plant. Slugs won't go near that. 
  • Copper Strips. These are adhesive strips that form a barrier around pots or raised beds. When the slimy slug tries to cross the barrier, it is deterred with a small electric shock. 
  • Coffee grounds are also hard for slugs to crawl over and the caffeine is deadly to them. An added benefit is that coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium for your garden. 

How to Limit their Numbers

If you are already “overrun” by the slugs or had a late start in getting to them, here's t way some suggestions that will help to limit their numbers.

Trap Them

  • Place wood pieces in the area you have found slugs. Turn the boards over during the heat of the day and you'll find them resting there. Dunk them in a mixture of one part bleach to nine parts water or vinegar to kill them. 
  • Take a roll of newspaper and put a rubber band around it. Soak it in a pail of water for a few hours. Take the rubber band off and lay the newspaper in the slug area. They will crawl between the pages of the paper. Roll it up and dispose of the slugs. 

This one we've all heard about

Beer Traps

Take a shallow container and bury it in the ground next to your plant. Fill with beer. The slugs will fall into the trap and drown. Not an unpleasant way to go, I guess, and it does work for a few slugs or maybe at the beginning of the season. I wouldn't rely on this method for a large area of plants that you want to protect.

Here's one you may not have thought of


The more birdhouses, the better.  Birds eat slugs, so having many birdhouses around your garden will attract birds to eat them. Some birds that will feast on slugs, beetles, and mosquitoes are Cardinals, Bluebirds, Orioles, and Sparrows.

My favorite way to limit your slug population:
Buy Slug Resistant plants like hostas!

What makes a hosta more slug tolerant than others is the leaf substance of the hosta. The thicker and heavier the leaves, the less appeal they are to slugs and snails.

To see a list of the slug resistant hostas that we grow and sell, click here.


Whether you buy slug-resistant hostas or use the above tips for the slug-loving plants you have, getting a handle on them early is key to a great looking garden throughout the season.


Where to go next!

Love hostas or know someone who does?
Visit our website for great hostas at an affordable price!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Popular Posts