Garden Snails And Slugs

Controlling Slugs and Snails in Your Garden

A Garden Snail

Having a beautiful garden can be such a wonderful and rewarding experience as you connect with nature by giving nature a helping hand. What I find interesting however is the many types of gardens that grace our landscapes.

But no matter the type or size of gardens we have we can all agree on one thing and that is having a garden does have its benefits. But even then every garden has its share of issues no matter the size or type that must be dealt with.

Working in the field of landscape and gardening for many years I have had to deal with many uninvited garden pests that sort to make a meal out of those beautiful gardens I labored so hard over.

Two pests, in particular, that menace are snails and slugs.

Garden snails and slugs

A question I want to ask here is, what is the difference between snails and slugs or are they the same?

Your Question is answered.

Snails and slugs are not the same. Snails have shells whereas slugs don’t. But their damage to plant life is still the same.

A Slug

How do slugs and snails feed?

Slugs feed on dead garden animals, tender your plants, rotten matter, fungi, decomposing plants, and even paper.

Snails feed on the leaves of living plants, fruits, stems, barks, young tender plant roots, and flowers.

Besides seeing these pests in your garden there are other signs that suggest the presence of these uninvited guests.

Signs of snails

Signs of snails may include a clear substance that leaves a trail, in some cases, it looks really gross, this substance is known as mucus and helps the snail to move over the soil surface easily.

Another sign of snails in your garden is that the leaves don’t only have this mucus which some folks call slime but holes can be seen in the leaves

Slugs and snails feed on edible and non-edible plants

Signs of slugs

The signs of slugs and snails are closely related. With slugs, you will notice a clear while smiley substance and large ragged holes in flowers and leaves of tender plants.

As you continue your detective work you will also in some cases notice this clear slime on the soil surface that will give clear evidence of which direction the slug is headed.

Snail feeding on garden plants-garden-snails-and-slugs

A snail feeding on a plant leaf

Signs of snail and slug damage

This photo shows a snail feeding on a plant. The damage is the same as slugs. Notice the severe damage to the leaves, if left unchecked they can really cause destruction making your garden look like a graveyard.

Controlling snails and slugs in the garden

Even though snails and slugs cause damage to plant life the good news, however, is there are measures that can be taken to bring these garden pests under control to not only ensure your garden plant’s survival but to ensure that you yield a good harvest. What’s the use of all that hard work and not being able to reap the rewards?

Controlling snails and slugs in your garden

Slugs and snails are active from spring through fall so during this time be on the lookout for them in your garden. Slugs and snails can lay dozens of eggs up to six times per year making them very difficult to control.

Slugs and snails are active on cloudy days, at night times, or just before dawn. Places to check include under rocks, plants, old pieces of board, and other matted garden debris.

Control measures

Snail feeding on garden plants-garden-snails-and-slugs
A snail feeding on a plant leaf

Control measures are as followed.

  • Hand-picking and placing them in a bucket of water with dish detergent
  • There are several baits that can be purchased but it is good to purchase those that are non-toxic
  • Cultural practices have given good results. Using barriers such as sand mulches, pine nuggets, and gravel is a safe and natural way
  • Using eggshells is a safe and effective method. Allow the shells to dry crush and scatter them through your garden. The jagged edges will cut into their bodies making it really painful for them and as the eggshells break down calcium will be added to the soil
  • Sprinkling coffee on the ground and around plants temporary has offered some help
  • Keep plants and soil dry as much as you can because snails and slugs are attracted by moisture. This is the condition they prefer to lay their eggs, so controlling, moisture will discourage snails.
  • Snails and slugs are a good delicacy for ducks and chickens. This is a natural way to bring them under control
  • Soaking a piece of board in beer will attract them. Catch them and place them in a bucket of water and dish liquid will eliminate them

These are just some of the many measures you can take to bring these garden pests under control.

The final word

I must agree snails and slugs are a menace but the good news is you can win the war by using these various methods so don’t despair the battle against these garden pests has just fallen in your favor.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.