If you are passionate about your garden you will know just how much of a nuisance garden pests, like snails and slugs, can be. They are not only unsightly little creatures, they can quite easily decimate your garden by eating your prized plants. There are a number of commercial products on the market that will get rid of them for you such as slug pellets, but these can also end up being poisonous to the other wildlife that ventures into your garden. Thankfully there are plenty of nature friendly and organic ways of reducing the numbers of these unwanted pests.
A Path Less Travelled
You should be able to see the routes that the slugs and snails are taking in order to get to your prized plants, so see what you can do to make the journey as difficult as possible for them. Broken egg shells or gravel placed on the paths that they are taking, as well as around the base of the plants should raise the difficulty level. Alternatively you could use bran or cat litter – as both of these substances absorb moisture it will be very difficult for the moisture rich slugs and snails to get across them as they rely on moisture in order to move. Another simple method is using sandpaper. Make a sandpaper cuff to fit around the base of your plants, the sand paper will make their journey almost impossible. Plants with thorns or spikes also have the same effect, lay down a litter of holly leaves, thistles or spiked branches to make a barrier.
The Beer Trap
The beer trap is a simple method of trapping these unwanted mini beasts before they get to your cherished plants. Making the trap is simple – you need a large plastic bottle from which you need the bottom to be about six inches or so. Chose a spot in your garden where you know the creatures cross as they travel around your garden and with a trowel dig a hole four inches deep, which is wide enough to hold your cut off bottle. Once you have planted your bottle in the garden fill it with beer. Believe it or not snails and slugs actually have a very keen sense of smell and they cannot help but be drawn towards the beer. Once they have made it into the container they drown. If your home is an alcohol free zone you could use cold coffee as an alternative to the beer.
The natural predators of the slug and the snail are birds and hedgehogs and these creatures need to be encouraged into your garden if you are looking to reduce the slug and snail population. If you are keen on self sufficiency and have a couple of hens or ducks around the place you should let them wander around the garden freely as they will naturally forage for food and root out the plant eating critters on your behalf.
As previously stated slugs and snails need moisture and lots of it, they will avoid direct sunlight as it dries them out. You can create simple but effective traps by leaving dark and shady places for them, such as under an upturned plat pot that they can crawl under to escape the sun – you then simply need to collect them from the traps and dispose of them as you see fit. The best method is to set the traps out in the evening as the sun starts to fade and then check and empty them in the morning; just bear in mind that you will need to pick them up in order to dispose of them.
Do you have any other further tips? Please comment below:-