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How to Keep Slugs Away from Garden

For avid gardeners, then keeping critters out of your yard is paramount to a successful growing season. And one of those pesky critters is the slug! These pests ruin gardens, and in particular plants and flowers, by leaving behind holes and tattered leaves. Fortunately, just as there are straightforward ways to keep pests, such as squirrels out of gardens, the same basic methods apply. From tips to keep slugs away to natural slug deterrents, the following guide offers some tips and methods to take back control of your garden.

How to Keep Slugs Away from Gardens

Interestingly, temperature is one of the most important aspects of slug activity. So, the first step to keeping slugs out of your garden is the calendar. While slugs invade all types of gardens, they prefer cooler temperatures, which means they are likely not a huge issue in the heat of the summer. For example, slugs prefer temps between roughly 40°F to 70°F. As a result, peak activity is during the night and following rain when the temps drop into their comfort zone.

For the most part, slugs avoid hot, dry conditions, which means that gardening in the fall is generally peak slug season. The mild and moist temperatures provide an ideal environment for activity and egg laying. In spring, as temperatures warm stimulate hatching and increased activity. In winter and summer, slugs generally remain dormant as the temps are either too hot or too cold. For more, the Journal of Experiential Biology shares the science behind slug activity.

To help keep slugs away from the garden in the spring and fall, then gardening experts offer a range of tips and methods to reduce their activity (and potential damage).

  • Utilize compost or leaf mold vs straw, hay, and shredded wood mulches (to reduce hiding spots)
  • Water in the morning so the garden dries by nightfall (which prevents damp conditions for slugs to thrive at night).
  • Trap slugs with inverted melon rinds between rows at night (and remove hiding slugs during the day)
  • Attract slugs to a different, likely shady area, of the yard with old vegetables
  • Remove slugs at night from plants (by using a flashlight and soapy water or simply handpick them)
  • Remove hiding spots like weeds, debris, and fallen leaves (through regular garden maintenance)
  • Avoid overwatering and improve air circulation by spacing plants further apart

Slugs, like any nuisance critter, benefit the overall ecosystem. But, as homeowners or gardeners, we want to keep them away from our gardens and yards. So, finding natural remedies that redirect slug activity is a great way to balance your desire for a nice garden with protecting the environment without harming local wildlife.

What are Plants and Natural Deterrents for Slugs

In addition to natural remedies, some plants and flowers act as slug deterrents as well. The smells and scents from these natural deterrents work by masking preferred plant orders, producing irritating compounds that harm slugs, or creating dense growth that offers a physical barrier. To help, there are two main plants that effectively repel slugs due to their strong scents and natural compounds that slugs find unpleasant or irritating.

  • Lavender: Produce aromatic oils and compounds like linalool and linalyl acetate that slugs dislike. Planting lavender around vulnerable plants or along garden borders creates a protective barrier that deters slugs.
  • Rosemary: Leaves are coated with a sticky, resinous substance called “tar” that can irritate slugs’ sensitive bodies and produce a scent that contains compounds like camphor and pinene, which deters slugs. Planting rosemary creates dense foliage with a strong scent that deters slugs.

By interplanting naturally deterring plants, lavender, rosemary, and other pungent herbs around susceptible plants, gardeners can leverage these slug-repelling properties to protect their gardens organically. For more natural deterrents, the following types of plants might fit with your garden.

  • Aromatic Herbs, such as sage, thyme, mint, basil, parsley
  • Alliums, such as chives, garlic, onions, leeks
  • Ornamentals, such as ferns, saxifrage, Mexican fleabane, astrantia, alchemilla mollis
  • Flowering Plants, such as foxgloves, daisies, peonies, roses, geraniums

Finally, while natural deterrents typically keep slugs out of gardens, professional pest control services can help remove wildlife that requires more experience and knowledge to eradicate. For gardeners and homeowners in our service area, Eliminate ‘Em offers safe and effective pest control services. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can even come to your home or business same-day. Eliminate ‘Em’s pest management process includes a full inspection, pest extermination and cleanup, so all traces are removed. We will seal the entry points pests have previously entered through and will also provide information on how to prevent future infestations. We offer both residential and commercial pest control services.

For pest prevention recommendations, wildlife control and other critter removal solutions, it may be worthwhile to work with a local pest control specialist. Contact Eliminate ‘Em to help today!