Slug on plant

How to Stop Slugs Eating Plants: 6 Things You Must Do

Everyone knows how much of a nuisance slugs can be, especially regarding your gardens and green spaces. In addition to getting in the way, they can cause considerable damage to your plants and vegetables if you do not put them under control.

While slugs do have a beneficial role including the breaking down of organic matter, their feeding habits can be destructive. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to manage slugs without having to call in professionals.

In this article, we shall share 6 easy-to-follow methods to keep slugs away and ensure your plants remain healthy and strong.

#1 Reduce Moisture

Slugs love damp conditions as they need moisture to thrive and prevent them from drying out. Reducing moisture in your garden is a sure way to help deter them. Here are some tips:

  • Water Plants Early: Water your plants early in the day to allow the soil to dry out by evening. This creates a less favourable environment overnight as slugs are primarily nocturnal creatures.
  • Improve Drainage: Ensure your garden including paths and flower beds has sufficient drainage. This is important as it disperses water, preventing it from building up. You can do this by adding organic matter such as well-rotted manure to the soil to help break down larger particles such as clay. We also recommend using raised beds where possible.
  • Use Dehumidifiers Indoors: If slugs are causing problems indoors then it's time to use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture levels. Common places where slugs like to dwell include in cellars, near entry points or in other damp areas. Use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture levels.
Watering plants

#2 Remove Shelter

Slugs typically seek shelter in dark, damp places during the day while they rest. By removing the abundance of these hiding spots, you can quickly reduce their population:

  • Clear Debris: Remove debris, stones, and fallen leaves from your garden. Slugs often hide under these items during the day as this allows them to stay cool and retain moisture.
  • Trim Grass and Weeds: Keep grass and weeds trimmed regularly to reduce the number of hiding places for slugs.
  • Tidy Up Regularly: Remove piles of wood, bricks, and other materials which could act as hideouts for slugs.
Trimming lawn

#3 Create Physical Barriers

Physical barriers can be very effective in preventing slugs from reaching and harming your plants. Here are some materials you can consider using:

  • Copper Tape: Slugs avoid crossing copper due to a reaction with their slime that creates a mild electric shock. Place copper tape around the rims of pots and garden beds.
  • Crushed Eggshells: Spread crushed eggshells around the base of plants. The sharp edges deter slugs from crossing.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: This natural powder dehydrates and kills slugs upon contact. Sprinkle it around plants and along garden borders.
  • Coarse Sand: Create a barrier with coarse sand around plants. Slugs find it difficult to move across these rough surfaces.
Crushed eggshells

#4 Use Natural Predators

Encouraging natural predators in your garden as they can help keep the slug population under control:

  • Birds: Attract birds to your garden by providing bird feeders and nesting boxes.
  • Frogs and Toads: Create a pond or provide a moist habitat to attract frogs and toads, which like to feed on slugs.
  • Hedgehogs: If you have a garden, make it hedgehog-friendly by providing shelter and avoiding the use of slug pellets that could harm them. Remove any netting or materials which could cause the hedgehogs to get stuck in and suffocate.
Bird house in garden

#5 Handpicking and Traps

Regular handpicking of slugs and the use of traps can be an effective way to reduce their numbers:

  • Handpicking: Go out at night with a flashlight and remove any slugs you find. Drop them into a bucket of soapy water to dispose of them. If it's not possible at night, focus on damp and darker places during the day.
  • Beer Traps: Lure the slugs with the smell of beer. Bury a shallow container, such as a jar lid or a plastic cup, in the ground and fill it with beer. Slugs will crawl in and drown. Empty and refill the traps regularly.
Slug eating plant

#6 Use Chemical Solutions

If natural methods are not effective, chemical interventions can be considered. Before using chemical products, read through the ingredients and potential side effects carefully. Always read and follow the instructions thoroughly.

  • Slug Pellets: Slug pellets containing iron phosphate or metaldehyde can be effective for slug control. Scatter the pellets around the garden, following the manufacturer's instructions. Be cautious when using slug pellets if you have children, pets or wildlife in your garden, as some formulations can be harmful.
  • Slug Baits: Similar to pellets, slug baits can be placed in areas where slugs are active. These baits attract and kill slugs.
Slug pellets

Final Thoughts

You can effectively manage and prevent slug infestations in your garden and protect your plants by following these simple methods. However, remember that early identification and prompt action are key.

Regular garden maintenance, reducing moisture and chemical methods can reduce slug infestation risk. If DIY methods do not provide results then don't hesitate to seek professional help. Taking control of your garden starting today, will help maintain a healthy, slug-free environment.

We go to great lengths to ensure that all our DIY slug control products are effective, safe & easy-to-use. You may also find our expert guide useful if you want to learn more about getting rid of slugs from your home or garden.

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