How to tackle slugs (and win!)
Slugs are in every garden and cause more damage than most other invaders. Commercial slug killers are available, but they can be toxic to birds and other wildlife and tend to be less effective after it rains which is when slugs are the most active. So, what can you do? Here are a few tips for how you can tackle the slugs in your garden, naturally.
Small strips of copper can be placed around flowerpots or raised beds as obstructions for slugs to crawl over. Cut 2″ strips of thin copper and wrap around the lower part of flower pots, like a ribbon. Or set the strips in the soil on edge, making a “fence” for the slugs to climb. Check to make sure no vegetation hangs over the copper, which might provide a ‘bridge’ for the slugs. Copper barriers also work well around wood barrels used as planters.
Like diatomaceous earth, slugs will avoid the abrasive surface of lava rock. Lava rock can be used as a barrier around plantings but should be left mostly above soil level. Otherwise, dirt or vegetation soon forms a bridge for slugs to cross.
Rove beetles are very good at eating slug eggs and baby slugs. You can encourage these beetles by creating homes for them by turning a plastic box upside down over a pile of straw with a small pile of rocks inside to hide in or a pile of rocks under some overhanging plants.
If you have access to seaweed, it’s well worth the effort to gather some. Seaweed is a good soil amendment for the garden and a natural repellent for slugs. Mulch with seaweed around the base of plants or perimeter of planter bed. Pile it on 3″ to 4″ thick – when it dries, it will shrink to just an inch or so deep. Seaweed is salty, and slugs avoid salt. Push the seaweed away from plant stems, so it’s not in direct contact. During hot weather, seaweed will dry and become very rough which also deters the slugs.
Slugs are attracted to beer. Set a small amount of beer in a wide shallow jar buried in the soil up to its neck. Slugs will crawl in and drown. Take the jar lid and prop it up with a small stick so rain won’t dilute the beer. Leave space for slugs to enter the trap.
Far and away the best course of action against slugs in your garden is a simple adjustment in the watering schedule. Slugs are most active at night and are most efficient in damp conditions. Avoid watering your garden in the evening if you have a slug problem. Water in the morning – the surface soil will be dry by evening. Studies show this can reduce slug damage by 80%.
If you suffer from slugs destroying the plants in your yard or garden, we can help. Our skilled maintenance team can work with you on a plan for preserving your plants and managing pests. Give us a call today: 541-729-8029
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