Dealing With Garden Slugs and Snails

12 May 2008 by Rolawn

Nobody makes friends with garden slugs and snails and if these slimy intruders are enjoying themselves at the expense of your flowerbeds or veg patch, there are a few simple, cost-effective and pesticide free ways to deal with them.

Salt - The White Death

Salt might be bad for us humans in large doses, but that is nothing compared to the effect it has on our gastropod friends. Applying salt to them causes their bodies to break down and kills them effectively within a few minutes. Salt is also harmful to plants, so do take care where you use it.

Booze - Lingering but Lovely

If you ever leave any wine or beer in the bottom of the glass (strange concept, I know) then you can use it to create an effective trap for slugs. Simply take an empty jar or margarine tub and sink it into your soil until the rim is level with the soil. Unable to resist the heady scent of alcohol, slugs and snails will wend their unsteady way to the pot and crawl into the booze, where they will drown overnight ready for you to safely dispose of in the morning.

Porridge Oats - for the Faint-hearted

If you're uncomfortable with the idea of killing garden pests with booze or salt, then the next best step is simply to prevent them from reaching your precious plants in the first place. Sprinkling porridge oats around your flower beds creates a barrier over which slugs and snails simply can't get across. The oats soak up the mucus they use to lubricate their passage leaving them unable to proceed to those tasty green leaves. Heavy rainfall can wash them away, so if you are going to use porridge oats, then they will need constant re-application during rainy spells.

Birds are your Allies

Common garden birds such as the thrush simply love to chow down on tasty snails and you can help the process. If you have a shed or garage, simply pick up any snails you find around your plants and throw them on the roof. Before they have a chance to make an exit, your local songbirds will soon polish them off (although they simply won't eat slugs. The picky beggars!) So there you have it - four painless ways to minimise the damage that gastropods might do to your garden.