General gardening topics

How to stop slugs from infesting your garden

Last updated on April 25th, 2022

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Slugs can have a devastating effect on your garden, however, you will be pleased to hear that there are ways you can stop them from infesting your plants and your garden. You can choose between natural, organic measures that safely get rid of the slugs or at least get rid of them without the use of pesticides, or you can opt for commercial products. Commercial products can be organic or non-organic depending on what you are growing.

If you are growing food such as fruit and vegetables that you plan to eat, a natural, organic way to stop slugs from infesting your garden is best. However, it is always recommended that you wash any fruit or vegetables you take from your garden whether or not you use some sort of slug control method. If you have children or pets who regularly run through your garden, perhaps nibble on the plants, you will also want to consider an organic or at least pesticide-free way to control your slug problem.

Below are some of the top ways to stop slugs from infesting your garden, with measures that are safe for produce, children and pets. 

Introduced nematodes and attract wildlife including hedgehogs into your garden

One of the easiest ways to get rid of slugs is to introduce natural predators. Slugs have many predators that you can add to your garden. If possible you can attract hedgehogs into your garden who will run about your garden and eat the slugs, the same as ducks or some chickens.

Of course, not everyone is able to do this because gardens are often fenced off, in which case alternative measures can be employed, like introducing nematodes into the soil who will then eat away the slugs as they make their way across your garden. For this method, you don’t actually need to handle the nematodes. For example, you can purchase packets of nematodes that you water into the soil and they eventually grow to be full size.

Check out our guide on how to introduce hedgehogs into your garden by clicking here

Use beer traps to catch slugs

Setting traps is a great way to prevent slugs from infesting your garden. These traps are items you can place around the perimeter of the plants you want to protect. There are many versions of these traps and one of the most common is called a beer trap.

This is where you take a small, flat container that has a short rim and fill it with beer. Most of the time these are dug into the ground by a few centimetres so that they lower the slugs into the trap and then they can’t get back out of it. The slugs are actually drawn to the fermentation in the beer and things like Guinness or ale will work best. These can be put around the edges or corners of your garden so that the slugs come upon them first and make their way into the trap rather than into your garden.

There are commercial traps that function very similarly and you will need to remove and replace them from time to time once they fill up with slugs.

Provide a space for them to hide by laying cardboard and picking them off in the afternoon

One way to get rid of slugs is to provide a space for them to hide, creating a dark shelter using a piece of cardboard, or alternatively using a stick. Slugs will naturally make their way to this hiding place, especially to avoid the heat of the afternoon sun. Unfortunately with this method, you will need to go out in the afternoon once most of the slugs have made their way into the new home, remove them by hand and discard them or kill them.

On that note make sure that you remove anything in your garden that is already serving as a home for slugs where you don’t want it. This can include things like bricks or stones, fallen branches, or leaves where they might hide. This type of regular maintenance will go a long way towards making sure they go where you want them and stay away from your garden.

Form barricades using natural products such as eggshells and wool

Barricades are a wonderful way to protect your garden. You can make a perimeter around the plants you want to protect with multiple products. Organic, natural versions are best done with things like eggshells. After you have made your breakfast, rinse out the eggshells and remove the membrane from the inside of the shell (if any is left), then crush and leave them in the form of a barricade around your garden plants. The eggshells will cut the soft underbelly of the slugs so they hopefully won’t cross it.

You will need to replace these on a regular basis, but what a wonderful way to make use of your breakfast waste. Make sure to replace them every few weeks or after it rains because they will lose their effectiveness. Other natural materials to deter slugs include pine needles, unwanted foliage that have thorns, or even sharp sand and grit. Just make sure that whatever you use doesn’t compromise the quality of the soil in your garden.

Similarly, there are commercial products that do much the same thing. Special wool products (such as Slug Gone) are made using British wool and formed into the shape of pellets. These can be laid around the base of your plants in a flat even layer and then watered. The pellets will get larger in size and create a protective layer that the slugs won’t cross.

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Use plants that have proven to deter slugs

You can grow plants that act as a natural pesticide and deter slugs. Things like Astrantia give off a very strong scent and are thought to repel slugs. If you put these along your border or perimeter, in between the plants you want to protect, they will go a long way towards protecting your garden from slugs. Other plants that you can grow include fennel, rue, Anise, Rosemary, and wormwood.

Make it slippery using WD-40

Slugs cannot stick to slippery surfaces, so if you create a surface that is very slick around the perimeter of your plants or your garden beds, they won’t be able to climb them. Spraying things like WD-40 onto the outside of your containers or potted plants will make it too slippery for any slugs.

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Copper is known to give slugs a shock

On the note of barriers, copper works well to repel slugs because every time their slime comes into contact with it they get a tiny electrical shock. Therefore you can use things like pennies or copper tape to make a perimeter. Tape down and fasten your preferred material so that it remains in place. It might also be beneficial to bury it ever-so-slightly so the slugs don’t just crawl underneath. There is a special self-adhesive copper tape that you can buy and this can be attached to raised garden beds, greenhouses, or potted plants as well.

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Most people think that they can sprinkle salt on slugs to get rid of them quickly, however, while it does kill them, it will also hurt the soil. Too much salt in your soil will literally salt the earth and make it impossible to grow your favourite flowers and plants. Because of this, it is best that you use one of the methods mentioned above so that you can safely and creatively get rid of your slug problem without using something that’s going to damage your plants. Don’t be afraid to mix and match. You can use more than one method to increase the potential results.

Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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