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How to Protect Your Plants From Slugs

Find out how to keep those slimy creatures away from your garden. (Don’t worry -- you won’t ever have to actually touch one…)

Photo: iStock

No garden-lover likes slugs. They come out at night, they eat your plants, and -- perhaps worst of all -- they’re really, really gross. Here’s how to get rid of them. Warning: Some techniques may sound slightly cruel. Go with whatever makes you comfortable… And please, don’t judge until you’ve had your own slug encounter.

  • Light things up at night. Because slugs thrive in the dark, a garden lamp is a great way to keep them away.
  • Slugs also really like damp environments, so keep your garden dry. Skip the mulch, space your plants apart and cultivate your soil often (all this will keep things drier on the surface).
  • Put sharp things like sand, eggshells or oyster shells around your garden – soft, squishy slugs are not into pointy objects. (Getting cut is basically a death sentence.)
  • Surround your containers and raised beds (or anything else with a permanent or firm border) with copper, which gives the slugs a little electro-shock when they touch it.
  • Trap ‘em with booze. Guys aren’t the only ones who have a soft-spot for a good brew -- slugs are notorious beer-lovers, too. Fill up a big container with ale and dig a hole that’s deep enough so that the container sits flush with the soil. The slugs will jump in, party the night away… And ultimately drown in their merriment.
  • Since slugs like the dark, put boards on your garden paths at night. When you turn the boards over in the early morning, you’ll find tons of slugs hanging on. Tap them off the board into soapy water and say goodbye.
  • If you want to use bait, look for something without metaldehyde, which is somewhat toxic. Iron phosphate is one better option, but even that should be kept away from animals and little kids. After any rain, you’ll need to reapply the bait.

-- The Nest Editors

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