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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Slugs!

Slugs are among the most damaging critters to gardens and plant life. This time of the year, I field many questions about how to eliminate this problem. Quite frankly, they are among the ugliest critter put on the earth. Ugly and damaging to plants, so what to do??

A frequent question is how to get rid of slugs and snails from flowers and gardens. Handpicking slugs and snails is an effective natural control, but it has to be done in the morning hours. As the sun rises, the pests retreat into holes under cool debris, and can be impossible to find. When handpicked they can be dropped into a bucket of brine (ocean water) or salt water.

Saucers of beer are also effective traps – they just love this stuff, are attracted and “drown.” Copper strips cause a slight electric shock, which deters slugs and snails from crossing the strips. Copper wire from a hobby shops less expensive tan the gold strips sold in garden centers and perform just as well. Be sure to keep copper barriers away from plant stems.

Diatomaceous earth (diatomite), available in farm supply centers and garden stores, is a natural powder made from the disintegrated shells of one-celled organisms called diatoms. Snails and slugs cannot cross the microscopically sharp edges of this material. Sprinkling thin lines of diatomite around plants and beds protects plants, but needs to be replaced as the lines get washed away.

Slugs love moisture in the ground. So if you can eliminate some of the humidity, they will not be particularly happy with you and go bother your neighbor instead. Good luck.

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