Tips from Olle Garden Bed: 8 Natural Methods To Prevent Slugs & Snails Destroying Your Plants
Under the cover of darkness, slugs and snails can cause great damage to garden plants in a very short time. Every night, they leave their cool and dark hiding places under rocks and fallen leaves and land on various garden varieties.Any succulent plant organization is a fair game, including fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs. Seedlings are particularly vulnerable and are often eaten entirely. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.
About slugs and snails
Snails and slugs are not insects, but terrestrial gastropod mollusks, which come from the same phylum as clams and squid.
Both have similar physical structures, and their soft, undivided bodies are covered with sticky mucus, which helps prevent them from drying out.
The most obvious difference between them is that a snail has a hard shell with a logarithmic spiral, while a slug has no shell. The absence of a shell makes slugs easier to dry, while snails have better protection against drought and high temperatures.
As gastropods, they have a "stomach foot" that allows them to move at a very slow speed - only one millimeter per second. Movement is accomplished by cascading muscle contractions that push the foot forward slightly. No matter how slow, some slugs can travel 40 feet every night in search of food.
Snails and slugs are found all over the world, but are more common in humid temperate environments. They need water to survive, and they breed rapidly in particularly rainy seasons.
How to identify a slug or snail problem
Snails and slugs usually feed only at night, but sometimes they can be found in the daytime on cloudy, foggy and rainy days.
You may not catch your plants when you chew them, but they do leave traces of destruction. Because they feed on the back and file like movement, larger leaves will show irregular shaped holes with smooth edges.
When they wander in the garden, they will deposit sticky mucus wherever they go. Look for streaks and seepage puddles on the top of the soil around the leaf surface and plant base.
Although they are versatile and feed on living plants and decaying organics, slugs and snails prefer the soft and tender growth of freshly sprouted seedlings. New plants grown on established plants are also the most popular food.
Pay more attention to green leafy vegetables such as lettuce and tender grass such as basil. Alfalfa and other foliage plants are not immune, nor are morning glory, daisies, lilies and other flowering plants.
In addition to leaves and stems, they also eat strawberries, tomatoes, beans, carrots, peas and apples.
8 Ways to Stop Slugs and Snails Naturally
Each slug and snail wandering around the crops can eat 40% of their weight every day. Use these strategies to stop their night raids:
- Remove hidden points
After a night feast, slugs and snails retreat to dark and cool hideouts near flower beds and vegetable beds.
Make your garden as unpopular as possible by removing any objects and debris that come in direct contact with the soil.
This includes raking leaves, moving rocks and stones, and storing piles of bricks or logs or timber elsewhere.
Wood chip mulch also provides a safe haven for snails and slugs, so avoid using it in vegetable fields as much as possible. Straw and pine needle mulch are good choices.
Garden furniture and decorations may also need to be reassessed. Flower pots and container gardens should be kept elevated from the ground. Remove statues and sculptures from your food crop.
- Encourage their natural enemies
Slugs and snails have many natural enemies in the wild. Let them work for you while strengthening the food web and promoting the balance of the garden.
Birds are effective slug and snail hunters, driving them away from their hiding places all day long. Blackbirds, jackdaws, thrushes, pigeons, starlings, owls and vultures are among many birds that prey on slugs and snails. Add a birdbath and plant plants that birds like to attract to your garden.
If you keep ducks, turkeys, or chickens, let them move where slugs have problems.
Some insects - such as ground beetles, ants, fireflies, and marsh flies - will help control snail and slug populations. Plant more native plants to encourage healthy insect populations in the backyard, and build an insect hotel to ensure they last for a while.
Reptiles and amphibians also like to eat snails and slugs. Frogs, toads, lizards and snakes are highly regarded as slug eaters. Adding ponds or other marsh water features is one way to attract these creatures into your yard.
- Keep the topsoil dry
While keeping your garden beds well watered is usually a good thing for your plants, having always wet lots is very attractive for resident snails and slugs.
Because they run in mucus, crawling on dry land means they lose a lot of mucus in the process. The loss of mucus will dry their bodies and slow them down.
Although there is nothing you can do when it rains, how you water the garden does have a great impact on the slug population.
Whenever possible, water the garden only in the morning. This makes the upper layer of the soil slightly dry before nightfall.
Instead of watering the whole plot, it is better to water each plant separately, only around the base of the stem.
Instead of saturating a large area of sprinklers, invest in drip irrigation systems like this to target each plant. Or use water rings to keep plants watered without soaking the entire area.
- Hand picking
Although very simple, picking slugs and snails by hand and removing them from food sources will have an immediate effect
Venture into your garden at night, about two hours after sunset. Use a flashlight to check around the plants, and observe the top and bottom of the leaves, the bottom of each plant, and the soil between the rows. After finding snails and slugs, use a spoon to remove them from the surface.
Search thoroughly and remove slugs and snails every day for the first week or so. Once you notice that their population is declining, weekly hand picked meetings will control their numbers.
Put the snails and slugs found in a bucket of soapy water or external alcohol to quickly kill them.
Alternatively, you can throw live slugs and snails into the compost heap.
Providing a dark, damp space where they can eat enough food without traveling will encourage them to stay where they are and help them stay away from your garden. This is also good for composting because they help to process all organic matter faster.
- Snail and slug traps
It is easier to collect slugs and snails by luring them to specific areas of the garden.
By placing cardboard or wooden boards directly on freshly watered soil, an ideal daytime shelter is created in a cool, damp and dark place. Turn these over daily and remove any snails and slugs that gather at the bottom.
You can also dig holes around the garden, each about 6 inches deep and 4 inches wide. Cover each hole with cardboard. Or simply put several flower pots upside down in the soil beside the garden.
You can bait these traps by adding some grapefruit or melon peel.
Don't forget to check these live traps every day! If you don't remove the accumulated slugs and snails every day, they may devour more plants.
Another effective technique is to fill shallow containers with an inch of stale beer. Snuggle them into the soil so that the top edge of the container is aligned with the soil surface. Keep them 10 feet apart throughout the garden.
Beer is very attractive to snails and slugs. Take them into the liquid, where they will drown. Take them out in the evening. Empty the container every few days and fill it regularly with beer.
- Copper deterrence
When the slimy bodies of slugs and snails come into contact with copper, it releases a small amount of electric charge. Most people avoid this unpleasant feeling and seek food elsewhere.
Individual plants can be protected with copper flash tape. Sold in rolls, the copper flash is flexible enough to form a ring around the base of the plant. Push the ring down to make it comfortable and comfortable in the soil, exposing at least 2 inches of copper above the soil line.
For large vegetable plots, copper strips can be installed around the entire perimeter. Since one side of it is adhesive, it can be quickly and easily glued to the outer edge of the elevated bed. Also apply it around the flowerpots and box flowerpots.
Copper is effective against slugs and snails as long as it does not tarnish. Clean the copper with diluted vinegar at regular intervals to keep it clean and shiny.
- Garden Bell Tower
Garden bell mulch is often used to extend the growing season.
In the cold current of late spring or early autumn, they can become absolute saviors, protecting plants from frost by keeping warm under the quilt.
Because garden fences form a physical barrier around the entire plant, they can also be deployed to defend against slug and snail invasion.
Garden barriers are best suited to protect new grafts and newly sprouted seedlings in spring, as seedlings are most vulnerable to slugs and snails.
To prevent more determined slugs and snails from entering the plant through the ventilation holes, stick a thin mesh screen on them - such as mosquito nets.
- Garlic spray
Garlic is an excellent natural insect repellent for a variety of agricultural pests, including terrestrial mollusks.
According to a 2003 study comparing slugs and snails, garlic was found to be one of the best treatments. Compared with untreated crops, the damage to plant tissue was reduced by 95% 48 hours after application.
To make garlic spray, boil 2 pieces of crushed garlic in 5 cups of water for about 4 minutes or until boiled. Filter the garlic and return the mixture to 5 cups. Let it cool.
When ready to use, dilute 1 tablespoon of garlic liquid with 1 gallon of water.
Transfer to the spray bottle and water the endangered plants in large quantities in the evening to ensure that the central stem, the top and bottom of the leaves and the developing flowers, vegetables or fruits are sprayed.
Re spray spray every few days and after each rainfall.