Environmentally Friendly Snail and Slug Control for the Garden

Michelle Tether
Written by Michelle Tether

Slugs and snails are called gastropods, meaning belly footed creatures and did I mention they are slimy! They can inflict major damage to the garden and are prolific breeders which is bad news for our newly planted herb garden (if it wasn’t indoors). It is important to control them in order to have a productive garden and as well as that, it’s really annoying to have hard work ruined which is why some of us opt to plant in our living rooms. Fortunately we have the environmentally friendly solution. Please read on.

Barriers to keep slugs and snails away from edible and pretty plants in the garden

A simple solution way to control the situation is a barrier. Slugs and snails like a smooth surface to move over, so deter them by making a rough path or barrier around plants. Spread the materials around plants they like eating the most(our yummy greens of course!), making sure there are no gaps. Here’s an image that shows exactly that, professionally done with egg shell and coffee grounds.

Environmentally Friendly Snail and Slug Control for the Garden

Image by – Environmentally Friendly Snail and Slug Control for the Garden

Try some of the following recycled goods, they all work well.

– Crushed egg shells – good nutrient feed as well
– Gravel
– Crushed oyster shells or any other crushed shells.
– Coffee grounds – another great compost / nutrient feed.
– Sharp sand – good for drainage as it sinks in.
– Cinders
– Frogs, lizards and birds eat slugs and snails so why not encourage these helpful creatures into the garden.

Create a pond for the frogs and create a home for lizards. In the example image below I’d say it’s a great idea but a little high. There would be two options to modify this design. A smaller water pot, or set into the soil to allow frogs to easily hop in and spawn. Wonderful idea though if you don’t want to have messy puddles!

Create a pond for the frogs

Image source. Create a pond for the frogs

Make a wild garden with fallen leaves and stones for hiding under but this comes with a warning in itself. This environment will also attract the snails but should keep their attention and draw them away from the rest of the garden. It might just be the excuse you need to create a compost pile.

Encourage birds with a water bath placed in an open, sunny space. To attract the birds set a sprinkler up to spray water around the bird bath. Once the birds know the bird bath is there they will return time and time again. This bird bath makes a beautiful outdoor decor accessory as well. Two birds with one stone! No pun intended 😉

Bird bath to encourage natural predators.

Image by Ros McCully. Bird bath to encourage natural predators.

How to protecting new seedlings in the garden from slugs

New seedlings are especially vulnerable to attack from slugs and snails.

1) Protect seedlings by cutting the top and bottom off clear plastic bottles – they must be clear in order that photosynthesis is not inhibited.
2) Place these tubes over the seedling, pushing them into the soil so the young plant is covered.
3) When the plant gets bigger remove the protective tube.
4) Start the planting indoors to give them a better chance.

Organic Gardening With the Famous Beer Trap

Slugs and snails are attracted to beer, even if the beer is flat. The beer trap attracts them and they fall into the beer and drown. The picture attached belowprovides a perfect example of the age old beer trap.

Materials Required for Garden Beer Trap

– Beer
– Plastic cup

Trap to catch slugs

Trap to catch slugs by Tara Immacolata

How to Make a Beer Trap for the Environmentally Friendly Garden

1) Half fill the plastic cup with beer.
2) Bury the cup in soil near to plants that need protecting from slugs and snails. Do not bury the cup right down to soil level or beneficial insects may also get trapped. Allow about 1 cm above soil level.
3) Cover cup with upturned plastic cup. This also helps to stop beneficial insects from falling in.
4) Empty the cup as required and add more beer every so often. Place a few of these strategically around your greens and it will make a big difference.

Environmentally Friendly Grapefruit Slug Trap

Snails and slugs are drawn to the smell of the grapefruit and will basically use the grapefruit as a home until you pick them up and throw them out. Here’s a gruesome picture of that in action

Slug control with grapefruit

Image source. Slug control with grapefruit

1) Use half an empty grapefruit, hollowed out.
2) Cut a snail sized doorway to allow access.
3) Put next to plants, hollow side down
4) The next day pick up the grapefruit with snails inside and dispose.

Night Time Patrol for the Keen Eco Friendly Gardener

Snails are most active on wet evenings. Use a torch to find and collect the snails and then put them into salty water.

A Garden to Deter Snails

Snails and slugs like to hide in warm, dark, damp places. Keep the garden free from unnecessary clutter such as up turned pots, old wood and mess behind garden sheds.

Keep long grass and weeds controlled and check for snails under the rims of pots they like, damp dark spots to hide. Promote wildlife and particularly birds. They’ll gobble down slugs greedily.

Birds in the garden to control pests

Birds in the garden to control pests

Make barriers, encourage helpful wildlife, protect and keep the garden clear of possible hiding places in the eco – friendly garden. When the slugs and snails continue to be a problem try a beer trap, grapefruit trap or get out there and hunt them down. Being environmentally friendly in the garden need not be a chore with these garden ideas which only require a small amount of time and energy.

About the author

Michelle Tether

Michelle Tether

I love everything home. I write as a passion for non profit about the things I love.