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Controlling Slugs and Snails in the Garden

June 6, 2009

Snail Wrestles Sluggo Pellet

Snail Wrestles Sluggo Pellet

Slugs and snails top my list of Seriously Annoying Garden Pests [aphids are #2, my dog is #5].  Ridding the garden of slugs and snails every spring is a dreadful but necessary task, especially if your garden is full of their favorite leafy plants like hostas, daylilies and irises to name a few.  This year, they’ve come full force, invading my salad and spinach garden.

The best time to control the slimy suckers is in the spring when their eggs are starting to hatch.  Check out The Weekend Gardener’s article, How To Kill Snails and Slugs – The Definitive Guide, for more background information on the world’s most common garden pest.  I have yet to hear of any gardener, expert or beginner, who can successfully control snails and slugs using only one method.  If there’s someone out there claiming victory, I think they’re either lying or using toxic chemicals that kill everything else good in the garden.  There are many, upon many, ways of controlling slugs and snails in your garden beds and containers, but here’s just a few of my preferred methods:

Preferred Garden Friendly Methods

  • Hand Picking Grab a flashlight, bucket and look under rocks, leaves, the lawn, etc. It’s wicked fun, but I start to feel bad after awhile.
  • Sluggo An iron-based, biodegradable snail and slug bait that’s also pet and kid friendly.
  • Beer Traps Find the cheapest beer you can find and drink the good stuff (see pics below)
  • More organic, slug-stopper strategies

Our Salad and Spinach Garden

Here’s our salad garden planted among (from lower right) Blue Star Creeper, Lime Thyme, Astilbe varieties, Azara, Asarum, one ugly Birch Tree, irises and hostas.  You can see a hefty dose of Sluggo sprinkeled around the lettuces.  The fence is to keep my dogs, pest #5 in the Hall of Shame, out of the garden beds while the seedlings mature.

My Sprouting Salad Garden

I stock pile tuna cans for the dreaded brew fest every spring.  Here’s a close up of our salad garden showing 1 of 3 beer traps sunken into the soil throughout the bed. Since this photo was taken, the lettuces are flourishing.


This close up is not for the faint at heart, just to feed your morbid curiosity.


This is our spinach and bush cucumber patch tucked in between some coneflowers, chives, sedums, yarrow, sedges, and Azaras. You can see the Sluggo pellets generously sprinkled throughout the beds.


What is your preferred method of controlling snails and slugs in your garden?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2009 12:32 pm

    I’m too much of a weenie to collect dead snail bodies in bowls of beer. I use diatomaceous earth.

    • June 8, 2009 6:36 pm

      Luckily the Sluggo takes care of most of the little sluggers. Now I have to apply to my strawberry patch. Sheesh!

      I’ll look into the DE. Thanks for the comment!

  2. frugilegus permalink
    June 11, 2009 2:40 pm

    Hmm. I agree with the multi-method approach. I’ve tried watering on nematodes: effective but you need to reapply every six weeks and it’s not the cheapest solution. Beer-traps as a control method definitely keep them down – but unfortunately my slugs insist on the nice stuff! They only really go for the nice English bitter – Old Speckled Hen is their favoured tipple, and they turned their slimy noses up at the supermarket own brands and cheap cans of Boddingtons. I’ve tried hand-picking too – but am not so good at the killing. The other ingredient seems to be constant vigilance – I relaxed for a bit when I seemed to be making progress then ended up going on a murderous rampage – confessed here:
    (warning: graphic images)

  3. June 14, 2009 9:56 am

    Slugs totally slime all over the good stuff. I can understand your rampage…they are maddening! Why can’t they just stick to the dead debris? Then they’d actually be pretty cool.

  4. Chitra Bahadur rokaya permalink
    July 29, 2009 5:27 am

    ok, all right


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