Last month I killed a slug that I found on the ground by pouring salt on it. Apparently the salt kills slug by drawing out water from them.
Last week I drowned a slug that was crawling on the soil of my second radish container. I used hot salted water after reading about it on the internet. Yesterday I found one of my wilted bean plants with a hollow stem. Seems like the slug got to it before I killed it.
Sad casualty of a slug.
Watch out slugs. You are now garden enemy number 1.
More Information about slugs.Golden Harvest Organics
Common garden slug: This probably the most often observed slug. One inch long, dark skin with a lighter stripe along the side. The foot can be either red or yellow. It can damage stems, roots and slither up plants causing much damage. It borrows in the soil to feed on root crops.
They can truly do a lot of damage to your plants. They like damp places, feed at night and prefer tender new growth, seedlings, lettuce, delphiniums and French marigolds. Slugs really go after hostas. These tips should help all of us hosta enthusiasts to keep them looking their best. Here are some ways to do battle with slugs:
NOTE: The following are all suggestions and may or may not work for you
General Slug Tips
Getting off the slime: If while dealing with slugs you get the slime on your hands or anything else here is a great way to get it off! Pour a little cheap white vinegar on your hands and wash it off with lukewarm water. Really cuts that slime! Repeat if needed.
Cultivation: Spring cultivation of the soil where practical will help to kill hibernating slugs and eggs.
Seedling Protection: Protect your seedlings with 2-3 litre plastic soda bottles. Make sure no slugs are around the seedlings first. Cut the bottoms out of the bottles, sink them into the soil around the seedlings and remove the caps. You can reuse them over and over too.
Weed Patrol: Be persistent in hoeing weeds and you will be breaking up clods of soil that slugs like to hide under and you may expose their eggs which you can then smash or whatever.
Mulch: Keep mulch pulled back from the base of your plants. Consider waiting to apply mulch until the soil temperatures have warmed to above 75F.
Garden Debris: Keep all decaying matter cleaned out of your garden beds. Clear all dead leaves and debris from the garden on a regular basis and put it in the compost pile which is best located in an area away from the garden.
Shrub Trimming: Shrubs with branches that rest on the ground, against fences or buildings should be kept pruned up and away from surfaces. Keep the old leaves and such cleaned out. By doing this you will have destroyed yet another slug haven!
Chopsticks: For handpicking use chopsticks to make it less disgusting.
Slug KaBobs: Keep barbecue skewers stuck in the garden at random. Your weapon is at hand to impale them!
Slug Haven: The shaded areas beneath decks can be a slug arena: keep them weed and litter free.
Try lava rock as a barrier in areas where plants need protection. We have heard from many people who say it works very well.
Use horseradish roots and geranium leaves as barriers. Does this work?
If you have access to a sweet gum tree (Liquidambar) the spiny fruits it produces make a good slug barrier. The American Sweet Gum tree (L. styracflua) is hardy from zone 1 to 12!
Use the lint from your dryer as a barrier. If you are concerned about any chemicals in the fabric softener do this instead: add 4 ounces of white vinegar to the final rinse water in the washing machine. Your clothes will be static free. There will be no vinegar smell as the odor completely evaporates. No kidding, this really works great.
Use cedar, oak bark chips or gravel chips which will irritate and dehydrate them.
Try a barrier line or an overall sprinkle of powdered ginger.
Use wood ashes as a barrier around plants, however try not to let the plant come into contact with the ashes. The ashes act as a desiccant and dry the slugs up.
Shingles or Sandpaper: Get rid of slugs in the infested area then lay a barrier of roof shingles around the area to keep slugs out or use a circle of sandpaper.
Spread well crushed eggshells around the plants. The calcium released from the eggshells is an extra benefit that "sweetens" the soil. The sharp edges of the shells will kill slugs. Most folks report that this does not work well.
Sprinkle a line of lime around your plants. A pile of unaged animal manure has an high acidity and provides a slug breeding haven leading to the assumption that slugs and snails are more of a problem in acid soils. By applying lime we sweeten the soil making it more alkaline and deterring the slugs. Obviously this won't work around plants requiring a more acidic soil.
Talcum powder or diatomaceous earth work as barriers but must be replenished after after rainfall or watering.
Hardware Cloth: On raised beds staple strips of hardware cloth on wood bordered beds. Extend the cloth about 2 inches beyond the edge making sure the sharp points will be encountered by slugs trying to climb over. It rips them up. You can also use aluminum screening material in the same manner. You can push the barriers directly upright into the soil for borderless beds.
Copper Strips: The use of copper strips as a barrier will give slugs a jolt of electricity. The metal ions in copper are what repel slugs. There are mixed reports on just how effective this is. One good way to try copper strips is to make a circle of the strip around just the plants you want to protect, remove slugs first. Easier too. Copper sulfate and similar copper based products may also work for the barrier method.
Herbs: A mulch made of stems and leaves of strong smelling herbs like wormwood, mints, tansy, lemon balm along with conifer twigs mixed in will help stop slugs and other pests.
Hair and Fur: Use a barrier of hair or fur to entangle slugs. Gross and effective. An additional benefit from using hair is that it supplies some nitrogen to your plants! Human hair, pet fur and horsehair, all will work.
Prunings: Another possibility is to use prunings from raspberries, blackberries etc. Anything with fine, sharp stickers may help.
Quack Grass: Quack Grass (Agropyron repens, family Gramineae), damages the nerves slugs use for feeding. Chop it up and use it as a mulch. Make a tea by cutting it up, soak in 1 quart of warm water for 24 hours, then use as a barrier spray on soil. Don't spray directly on plants. The use of Quack Grass has, personally, worked very well for us. See more on using Quack Grass for recipes.
Oak Leaves, Lettuce and Cabbage: Using oak leaves as a mulch deters slugs, so does seaweed if you have access to some. Also of interest is that red oak leaf lettuce is not bothered by slugs or snails! Red oak leaf is tasty and can take some hot weather. Also of interest we observed that slugs were all over green cabbage, but the red cabbage was left alone!
Coffee Grounds: Used coffee grounds spread around susceptible plants may work.
Epsom Salts: Epsom salts sprinkled on the soil will supposedly deter slugs and also helps prevent Magnesium deficiency in your plants. Magnesium helps to deepen color, thickens petals and increases root structure.
Oat Bran: Scatter oat bran on the soil to kill slugs and snails.
Builders Sand: Try barriers of builders sand which has a sharp texture.
Nut Shells: Ground shells of filberts, pecans and walnuts may work, if you can find a source or grind your own.
Cocoa Hulls: Cocoa shell mulch may work as a slug deterrent as well as supplying nitrogen to the soil as it breaks down and it suppresses weeds too! We've had mixed reports of people using cocoa shells for slug control. Some folks say it works fine to fairly well and some say the slugs love it so much that they are all over it and their slime creates a hard crust on top of the mulch! We will suggest that you buy a small amount of cocoa shells and try it out first.
Warning: Dogs may be attracted to and can eat cocoa hulls which can be fatal!
Rosemary: Sprigs of rosemary scattered around repel slugs and are refreshing with their piney scent.
Predators of slugs include: Ground beetles (particularly carabid beetles), turtles, toads, frogs, lizards, rove beetles, salamanders, lightening bug larvae, turtles and garter snakes.
Birds: Rhode Island Red hens are great slug hunters, they get virtually all slugs and snails they can find. A big plus is no crowing from hens! Other slug hunters include blackbirds, crows, ducks, jays, owls, robins, seagulls, starlings and thrushes,The appeal factor to all these creatures is due the fact that slugs are pure protein. Yummy.
Nemaslug: (currently not available in the USA) There is also a predatory nematode, Phasmarhabditas hermaphrodita, that is effective against slugs. They are being mass reared apparently in England but are not yet sufficient in production to be used widely. They are watered onto the soil and will kill slugs for up to six weeks. The water and nematodes leach down into the soil where 90 percent of slug populations live. It is this underground population of slugs that the nematodes attack and kill. The nematodes should be applied anytime between April and October when the temperatures are milder for the best control. Soil must be kept on the moist side for the nematodes to live. These nematodes kept in a sealed bag and refrigerated will last up to two weeks. You can do an initial treatment, then retreat with the remaining stored nematodes for two additional weeks. This would give you two months of control from one batch.