As a gardener, I can’t think of many things more frustrating than checking on your vegetable or flower plants and discovering huge holes nibbled through the leaves. Slimey holes. Holes clearly made by slugs.
Many prevention techniques include picking slugs off the plants by hand, then disposing of them. (Think salt. Or smooshing.) But who really has the time or desire to hand-pick slugs?
Here are a variety of preventative techniques. Hopefully some may work for you this summer.
Shockingly, slugs don’t like copper. (They literally get shocked when they touch this metal.) Place ready-made copper plant guards around your plants, or stick copper flashing along the borders of your raised beds. You can even glue pennies around containers, or glue some copper tape around your flower pot rims.
When your copper barriers start to tarnish, clean them with vinegar – the copper must be shiny to effectively keep slugs away.
Coffee keeps slugs away. You can either spritz invading slugs with coffee to watch them flee, or surround your plants with used coffee grounds.
If coffee isn’t your thing, spritz slugs with vinegar. But vinegar acts as a herbicide, so make sure you don’t spray your plants in the process.
To take care of slugs at night when they love to visit plants, put an old shallow plastic container next to your damaged plants. At dusk, fill the container with the freshest, cheapest beer you can buy. Repeat every evening. This trap should attract lots of slugs … and then they will get drunk and drown. (If slugs weren’t so pesky, this might be a sad sight.)
Another way to take care of slugs is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your plants. Diatomaceous earth, a powder of ground up creatures named diatoms, is sold at garden supply stores. It dehydrates slugs almost instantly. (Diatomaceous earth also kills ants, aphids, bed bugs, caterpillars, centipedes, cockroaches, earwigs, fire ants, fleas, flies, grubs, lice, mites, silverfish, spiders, termites, and ticks.)
Using slug bait that contains iron phosphate will kill slugs and also help your soil. Find the powerful pellets at a garden supply store.
It’s strange, but true: you can take care of slugs with your own hair. Simply surround your plants with clumps of your shed hair and watch the slugs strangle themselves.
Slugs are attracted to citrus fruits – lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit. Put citrus rinds around plants that usually attract slugs. In the morning, you’ll notice the slugs have migrated to the citrus instead of your plants. Simply dispose of the citrus rind, slugs and all.
A few critters enjoy munching on slugs: toads, ducks, lightning bugs and rove beetles. If you can attract these four friends, slugs may stay away.
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Kimberly Kuhn says
Another tip from my Grandma is crushed up egg shells. Also a little mean since it cuts them, but should help to keep them off of the plants.
Thanks so much for sharing this tip, Kim! I’ve tried this before and it’s definitely easy and green. Unfortunately for my plants, the slugs slimed their way right over the eggshells and continued to eat away at all my leaves.
Has anyone else tried this and had success?
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