Nine ways UK gardeners can deter slugs and snails this autumn
Gardeners have been offered nine eco-friendly tips for deterring slimy slugs and snails from their backyards this autumn.
Outdoors experts at BillyOh.com have revealed the best ways to get rid of pesky gastropods without the use of pesticides that harm beneficial creatures and pollute our waterways.
Slugs lay eggs nearly all year round, but most prolifically in late summer and early autumn.
And when autumn leaves start to fall, slugs and snails will have lots of new hiding places to choose from.
These gastropods are a nuisance to gardeners worldwide, but there are plenty of easy ways to keep your vegetable and ornamental crops safe.
A spokesperson for BillyOh.com said: “Slugs and snails probably cause the most devastation to gardens – they’ll think nothing of munching through your prettiest plants and ruining any vegetables you’ve lovingly grown.
“And whilst killing them with pesticides might be effective, it also has a terrible impact on other wildlife, your pets and the environment in general.
“Ideally, we’d all have the time to go around plucking each one by hand, but this can take a while – plus it’s pretty gross.
“Instead, we’ve suggested nine alternative methods that will help you get rid of any slugs and snails in the garden, and then stop others from returning.”
1. Feed them citrus peels
Slugs love citrus, so don’t throw away your orange or lemon rinds. Instead put them in your garden to bait the slugs and snails away from your plants.
In the morning, check your peels to see if any slugs or snails are on them, and remove these from your garden. Refresh with new peels as appropriate to continue your decoy operation.
2. Deter with rough surfaces
Slugs and snails hate crawling over scratchy surfaces, so try surrounding the stems of your plants with crushed eggshells or insert a sand-paper collar around the stem. Sprinkling sand around edges would work too. This won’t kill them, but it might slow them down and keep them off your plants.
Strangely enough, research shows that slugs and snails cannot tolerate crawling on copper surfaces, which gives them a mild electrical shock when they crawl over it. So, put copper bands around your flowerpots or beds to deter them from crawling up and onto your plants. Pennies will work just as well too.
4. Herbal repellents
Planting sage or mint around your garden plants will help deter slugs and snails. Other herbs and plants which may deter these critters include garlic, fennel, and even geraniums.
5. Vinegar spray
Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a pump spray bottle, go out into your garden in the evening (the hours that snails and slugs are usually active) and spray any you see. As vinegar is mildly acidic, it will kill any snails or slugs it touches. However, vinegar is toxic to vegetation, so only spray snails or slugs that haven’t yet reached your plants.
6. Ammonia spray
Alternatively, you can mix equal parts ammonia and water and spray snails and slugs as described above.
Slugs and snails cannot tolerate caffeine, so you can deter them by placing coffee grounds around your plants.
8. Encourage natural predators
You can encourage native slug-hungry predators to inhabit your garden. For example, birds love slugs, so you could install a birdbath or birdhouse. Other creatures such as frogs, hedgehogs, shrews and ducks all eat slugs too.
9. Beer trap
Bury an open container so that the rim is level with the ground and put about an inch of beer in it. The slugs will dive into this shallow beer pool and meet their hasty demise. Check the trap each morning and clean it out as necessary.