Hello all! This is actually a re-post from last year, and interestingly enough it was originally posted July 5, 2012. I say that because I'm dealing with this SLUG problem again at the same time this year! It's been super wet this summer, and when it isn't wet it's damp with humidity. I thought many of you are probably dealing with the same infestation I am, and this post offers some great tips on curbing the problem. So if you've got a slug problem, or know someone who does I would encourage you to read on…
SLUG, the name alone is enough to make a person cringe, especially if you’re an avid gardener. Slugs can be a devastating problem in the garden if not dealt with quickly. We’ve put together a quick post on understanding the habits of these nasty creatures, and dealing with them if they become a problem.
There are two very important facts we need to know about these little nasties before we can dispose of them. Where do they like to live & grow, what do they like to eat?
Where do they live & grow?
A slug needs to keep moist and their bodies need protecting from the environment as they don’t have any protection against the elements themselves. Because of the way they are “put together” so to speak slugs cannot live in dry, arid conditions or they will simply dry out. Therefore, slugs must make their homes where they can hide in damp, moist areas. Damp, moist areas can include under or in overgrown plants, decaying leaves, your containers, pots or rocks. All of these hiding places provide a perfect environment for slugs to retain moisture and stay out of the hot, dry air.
What do they like to eat?
The Fact is slugs will eat just about anything, which is why they are so detrimental to the garden! However, slugs prefer to eat soft leaved plants such as hostas, fruits, decaying leaves or vegetables, and fungi. So unfortunately unless you live in the dessert there is a risk of a slug invasion at any time!
So now to talk about the fun part, getting rid of them!
Getting rid of a slug invasion:
There are many ways to fight slugs the following happen to be favorites of my own:
- Beer: This is probably the most “fun” way to get rid of them, just because it’s beer! Don’t use old or “stale beer”, slugs like that about as much as me and you do. Simply crack open a fresh can of beer in the evening, drink half of it, and lay the can on its side near your damaged plants. The next morning, it’ll be filled with dead, drunk slugs. Repeat every evening.
- Plank of Wood: This is probably the easiest way to do away with the little “boogers”. Simply lay down a plank in the evening near your damaged plants. When you wake in the morning and flip it over, you’ll find a plethora of them attached. Just scrape them off somewhere away from your gardens and be on your way.
- Diatomaceous earth: Available at garden centers, ‘DE’ is the mined fossilized remains of dinosaur-era, sea-going creatures called diatoms. It looks like powdered sugar, but is very sharp on a microscopic level, and it dehydrates slugs on contact. Surround slug infested plants with the powder. The downside is it must be refreshed after heavy rains.
- Citrus: Works like the beer, although not quite as fun. Place lemon, orange and grapefruit rinds out overnight near slug infested plants, and then collect and trash them, covered with slugs, the next morning.
- Human Hair: As gross as this is it does really work! Surround your plants with a protective barrier of hair. The slugs will get all tangled up in it and strangle! Not to mention, the hair will eventually add plant-feeding nitrogen to the soil.
- Toads: Avoid pesticides, provide water low to the ground and a damp shady spot for them to hide during the heat of the day, and these nocturnal predators will eat lots of slugs for you.
- Garter Snakes: Attract these non-poisonous, slithery slug eaters, and watch as the holes in your plants disappear.
- Birds: Birds love to feast on these plump entrées! Attract bids, and watch as the holes in your plants disappear.
- Salt: And last, but not least, the salt trick. Simply place salt around affected plants, or apply directly to the slug and watch them dry right up. This is kind of cruel if you ask me, but it’s them or your plants…
Hopefully we’ve provided enough information so that you can avoid an infestation of slimy slugs! But if the little “boogers” do get in use any one of the slug fighters above, and voila no more holy plants!
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