Snails and slugs are damaging to gardens! Here are several tips to naturally keep them away from your precious plants.
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Keeping the Snails and Slugs Away
Getting Rid of Snails and Slugs
The most common belief about slugs and snails is they are the same but, they are not. They do, however, have something in common – they are quite damaging to gardens!
The main physical difference between them is snails carry a shell and slugs do not. Here are brief descriptions on what they each look like.
- Snails are grayish in color and their shells’ colors range from white to brown to almost black. The shell can also be mottled or striped. A snail has two tentacles on its head.
- Slugs, as mentioned above, do not have a shell. They range in color from light yellow to gray to almost black. They range in size from a ½ inch to as long as 10 inches. Like their cousin, they also have two tentacles on their head.
They will target almost any vegetation that is wet or moist. The damage they leave behind are holes in plant leaves and flowers including succulent plants and plants that grow low to the ground.
They both can demolish young seedlings and will leave just the stem behind.
Due to the fact that snail and slug damage can resemble damage done by insects such as caterpillars and grasshoppers, there is one telltale sign — the slime trails that snails and slugs leave behind. The slime trails are silvery, reflective lines left behind on the plant leaves and the outer surface of pots.
Another way to possibly tell who the true culprit is: caterpillars, for example, leave behind droppings that resemble tiny pellets.
The reason why you may not see them much at all during the day is snails and slugs are mostly nocturnal but can be spotted on extremely cloudy and wet days.
Let’s talk deterrent. What can you do to deter these two pests? In this article, I will share with you all-natural solutions to keep your survival gardens snail and slug free this gardening season.
1. Petroleum Jelly
This is great for raised gardens and potted plants! Just smear petroleum jelly around the edges of the pots or raised garden beds. Snails and slugs simply will not cross the path of the petroleum jelly.
Some gardeners add cayenne pepper, salt, or ginger powder for extra measure!
2. Crushed or Broken Eggshells
Even though there has been evidence of snails and slugs crossing over paths with sharp edges to get to their dinner, some gardeners swear by this method!
Simply apply a layer (or two) of crushed or broken eggshells to the soil surrounding the plant. The key here is to make the area of eggshells as sharp and jagged as possible.
It is very likely that the snail or slug will find it too cumbersome to cross over the roughness of the crushed or broken eggshells and turn right around and leave.
The mucous (or slime) of a snail or slug does not mix with copper and when they cross copper they will get a mild shock.
Wide copper barriers up to 6 inches are recommended as some snails and slugs can be quite large. Copper mesh or flat pieces of copper will work best for this deterrent method.
Tip: Copper can tarnish over time which will make it lose its effectiveness to deter these pests. Cleaning the copper or replacing it when it does become tarnished is highly recommended.
4. Pistachio Nut Shells
These shells have two qualities that snails and slugs hate – they are sharp and salty!
Simply place a thick layer of pistachio nut shells on the soil surrounding the plant. You do not have to replace the shells.
They will rot down into the soil over time which will greatly benefit the soil and, of course, the plant. Add more shells as needed.
Due to its dry and barren texture, sand is another substance snails and slugs do not like.
Put a ¼ inch barrier of fine sand around the edges of garden beds and at the base of plants to protect them from these pests.
The denseness of sawdust is extremely unappealing to snails and slugs and they will not cross this barrier. Simply place a ¼ to ½ inch barrier around the edges of potted plants or garden beds.
7. Pick Them by Hand
Please do not use your bare hands as the slime of these pests does not come off easily. Wearing disposable plastic gloves is highly recommended.
The best time to do this is dusk or early morning, especially in damp conditions. When you spot one, it is best to scoop them up with a spoon.
The next step is totally up to you, of course. You can release them in an area where you know they will not be a pest and cause damage.
To instantly kill snails or slugs, sprinkle them with a good amount of salt or squirt them with ammonia. These substances are great for slug control.
Check out this video from GrowVeg on how to deal with slugs and snails in your garden:
These tips should be good enough to prevent snails and slugs from doing damage to your garden. They’re slow but they can be a real pain in the neck if you’re serious about taking care of your plants.
Simply pick one of these easy methods and watch your garden bloom nicely.
What do you use to keep away snails and slugs? Tell us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 1, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.