Snail and Slug Control

Snails and slugs can be major pests in your garden, but they can also be beneficial to local wildlife and may be controlled by natural predators. However, they are never a welcome sight in a garden so here are some handy eco-friendly ways to deter them from your plants and green methods to control them.

Snail and Slug Benefits.

  • If you only have a few slugs and snails in your garden, leave them alone. They are protein rich food for frogs, toads, olive thrushes, hadedahs, hedgehogs, moles, shrews, lizards and snakes.

Snail and Slug Prevention.

  • snail on flowers

    Begin with the correct soil pH and fine soil – course lumpy soil offers many cavities where snails and slugs can hide or lay their eggs.

  • Too thick a layer of mulch can attract snails and slugs as they use it to hide during the day – if you have pest problems apply a much thinner layer of mulch. Do not use fresh grass clippings, only dry clippings and mix these with dry tomato or wormwood leaves as they dislike the scent.
  • Dry shredded straw, hedge clippings and crushed egg shells deter snails and slugs as the sharp pieces hurt their soft bodies.
  • A dusting of sawdust or wood ash applied to the beds can be used as a deterrent. The disadvantage is that it will need to be reapplied after rain or watering.
  • Provide sacrificial plants on the edges of beds, or inter-plant decoy plants such as Tagetes, dahlias, tender lettuces, yellow mustard or garden cress on which the pests can feed.
  • Use deterrent plants with rough, hairy textures – tomato, borage, cucumbers, comfrey, poppy plants.

Slug and Snail Control.

  • slugFor serious infestations place a thick pad of wet newspapers between the plants in the evening or early in the morning. The slugs and snails will crawl under the paper for protection and you can collect and remove them.
  • Sink shallow containers half filled with beer into the soil. Slugs and snails are attracted to the fermenting yeast odours and will attempt to drink the beer and drown instead. Yeast and water or old yoghurt and water can also be used.
  • For home-made bait: Mix wheat bran with bread, cat biscuits or dog pellets and water to make a porridge. Use a smooth, deep plastic container, fill it a third with the porridge and sink it into the ground. The pests are attracted to the bait, fall in and cannot escape the container. Tip-out regularly.

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