Gardening tips, advice and ideas

Organic ways to stop slugs eating the plants in your garden

Last updated on June 8th, 2022

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If you have a pest problem, the kind that leaves behind a silvery, slimy trail, then you need eradication. Slugs are not just an annoyance, they eat your plants and leave you with nothing. But not everyone has the time to go through and pick them off by hand, and some people want to avoid pesticides because the plants provide food or the garden doubles as a play area for other members of the family. Rest assured, there are organic ways you can stop slugs from eating your plants.

1. Set slug traps to lure slugs to their deaths

There are many types of traps you can set up that will get the slugs out of your garden. Beer traps are the most popular with home gardeners because slugs are attracted to the fermentation of beer, so an ale or Guinness can be poured into a low container and then put at the edge of your garden bed. Place them along the edges so that slugs and snails hit them first, before your fruits and vegetables. You can also use cardboard, branches or grapefruit halves, effectively anything that offers the slugs a dark, moist area for cover. Once they are captured, you can remove them.

Set of 20 Slug Traps, Hygienic, Disposable and No poison.
  • THIS DISPOSABLE SLUG TRAP WILL HELP YOU EFFECTIVELY COMBAT SLUGS IN YOUR GARDEN | The slugs are attracted to the bait. Beer is an effective bait, or you can buy our Bait Powder Easy to use and super effective. You don't have to touch the slimy slugs
  • | HOW TO USE | 1. Pour 3 dl pint into the Slug Trap 2. Place the trap in a shady place and leave it for 2-3 days 3. Toss the Snail and slug trap in the bin.
  • | EASY TO USE | The Slug trap is easy to use, so you can get rid of slugs in your garden.
  • | Use the trap instead of Slug pellets and nematodes for slugs |
  • | Come to grips with your slug problem |

2. Introduce predators or encourage wildlife into your garden

Hedgehogs, ducks, beetles, centipedes and birds are all great animals and insects to introduce into your garden if you want to get rid of the slugs without killing them yourself, plus you can be happy with the knowledge you are also helping your local wildlife.

Hedgehog eating meal worms. Only feed hedgehogs small amounts of meal worms as they offer no benefit and can cause issues. Mix a few meal works along side other food such as cat food or biscuits.

Read how to encourage hedgehogs into your garden in our article here.

Learn how to encourage birds into your garden to help control slugs


3. Use slug nematodes, these are very effective

One commercial product that introduces predators is nemaslug. Nemaslug is a special product you can apply easily, simply mixing it with water and watering your affected plants. It is completely organic so it is safe to use in a garden where children and pets play. The product can be mixed and applied on the same day it arrives. It works by releasing microscopic worms into the soil called nematodes, and these pray on the slugs and kill them. This is one of the best ways to control slugs. 

Slug Nematodes 12million (Treats 40sq.m)
  • Control slugs NATURALLY by applying Nemaslug Slug Killer, which contains natural nematodes, that are effective at controlling slugs, but unlike chemical controls, are safe for children, pets, birds and wildlife.
  • The nematodes in Nemaslug are found naturally in UK soil and have been approved for use in organic gardening by the Soil Association.
  • Nemaslug works at temps above 5c/40f, so apply UNDERGLASS all year round OR apply OUTDOORS during the growing season i.e. between March and November. Apply with a watering can fitted with a coarse rose or with an EasyNem applicator fitted to a hose.
  • Nemaslug is a perishable product (it will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge), so order when you are ready to apply or select your dispatch date below.
  • Each application of Nemaslug controls slugs for 6 weeks, so for a slug free garden, re-apply each 6 weeks. This Nemaslug Standard Pack treats up to 40sqm.

4. Origins Slug Control

Info about image for alt text

If introducing a predator is not your style, there are other options available to you. Origins Slug Control works by dehydrating the slugs so that they bury themselves and therefore leave your plants alone. They use only natural ingredients and these last up to 2 weeks with a single application. It is certified by the Organic Farmers & Growers Association for meeting organic standards. The active ingredients all occur naturally in soil, with ferric phosphate as the prime ingredient. 

Origins Slug Control is best used no more than four times per year, in spring and autumn primarily because these are the times when the conditions are wet and cool, and more likely to attract slugs. The first time you see evidence of slugs or snails, break out the slug control. 

It is most effective used outdoors in small gardens when snails and slugs are at their most active. You can apply it to bare soil around flowers, salad crops, and strawberries. Make sure the pellets are applied evenly across every part of the garden you want to protect and don’t let them get trapped in the plant leaves. They should be about 8-10cm apart.

Origins 119510 Slug Control 450g, Grey
  • One application lasts up to 2 weeks
  • Slug control reduces unwanted slugs and snails from plants and edibles
  • Suitable for grow your own crops
  • Active ingredients occur naturally in the soil
  • Contains ferric phosphate

5. Form a Perimeter

Many people think of salt as an easy way to deal with slugs, but not in your garden because too much salt will ruin the soil and the crops. However, you can form a barrier using other materials. Eggshells, for example, make a great deterrent because the edges are too sharp for the slugs to crawl over. Make sure that you remove the inner membrane and wash them before you toss them around your plants. And after it rains you will need to replace them. 

Barriers made using copper works well too. You can use copper wire or all the pennies you don’t use to create a border. You will need to dig the wire into the ground so that the slugs don’t just crawl underneath it.

AGAINST SNAILS! Slug repellent band of copper, 16 meters
  • Slug repellent band of copper, 16 meters
  • To protect against worms and snails
  • 16 meters of copper tissue
  • Sufficient for approx 20sqm bed area
  • incl. fixing nails
Slug banned Large Pack of 10
  • Slugs and snails hate copper because of a reaction between their mucus and the copper. Use these copper bands to form a barrier that slugs will not cross.
  • Use them to protect plants in your borders from BOTH slugs and snails. Made in the UK, these Copper Slug Bands are made from flexible copper, which means they can easily be clipped together to make much larger rings or bent into various shapes – ideal for awkward situations.
  • They are safe to you, your children, pets and wildlife.
  • Each LARGE Copper Band measures 60cm in length, which when formed into a circle makes a ring 17cm / 7″ in diameter.
  • This listing is for a pack of 10 x 60cm bands.

6. Slug Gone

Another form of border control is Slug Gone. Slug Gone is made from wool pellets and it form a natural barrier that irritates the slugs and prevents them from reaching your plants. Nothing is harmful, the product is in fact completely biodegradable and the fibres are all hygroscopic.

This product is made from 100% wool so it is a perfectly suitable method for organic gardeners. It is certified as such by the Soil Association. It won’t contaminate the soil, making it suitable for any area of the garden where you grow fruit or vegetables. It is also chemical-free so you can use it in any area where children and animals play, or where you often have birds, bees and other wildlife visiting. 

For effective application, simply place the pellets around your plants and add water. They will solidify and form a protective mat that keeps away slugs and snails. This brings with it the added benefit of reducing weeds, retaining moisture, and concurrently reducing water evaporation from the sun. What’s more, it has nitrogen, sulphur and potassium, these get released into the soil, making it an even healthier environment for your plants.

Vitax 5L Slug Gone Natural Wool Barrier Pellets
  • A completely natural, organic way to keep slugs and snails away from plants.
  • This natural product is produced from recycled wool and is suitable for organic growers and is soil association approved
  • Stops slugs and snails in their tracks as well as forming a mulch that reduces moisture loss from the soil and reduces weed growth
  • Breaks down naturally during the season releasing nutrients
  • Suitable for use on fruit and vegetables

Overall, your best methods for eradication include setting up a barrier or perimeter the slugs cannot cross, removing them yourself or using the help of a natural predator, or using a product that deters them from eating your plants. Remember to apply your method of choice as soon as you notice the slug problem.

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 john@pyracantha.co.uk

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