Among the undesirables in the crosshairs of gardeners, slugs and snails rise to the forefront. They are capable of devastating crops very quickly, in the vegetable garden, in the ornamental garden, and even in potted plants on the balcony or terrace. Fortunately, there are many solutions to fight in the garden against these gastropods which we would do well without. Let’s do a check in.
Slugs and snails, plagues in the garden
These gastropods are not appreciated by gardeners because, fond of very tender young leaves, tubers and even roots, they cause severe damage in the plantations on which they rush as soon as the day goes down or after a rain shower. Indeed, a single specimen consuming up to 40% of its weight in a short time, we dare not imagine the disaster after a light rain which brings out of their hiding place a battalion of molluscs, from April until the end of Octoberafter which they hibernate (finally!).
So it’s no exaggeration to say that slugs and snails are a real scourge for ornamental plants, vegetables, aromatic plants, and even for shrubs.
Avoid the invasion of gastropods in the garden
Slugs and snails reside throughout the day in shelters that allow them to be cool and in moderate darkness. If you want to keep them away from your crops, there is therefore no choice but to avoid anything that can constitute a shelter for these gastropods or a source of food. We therefore take care of clean up by choosing the following solutions.
- Systematically rake the dead leaves strewn on the ground,
- Store planks, stones and concrete blocks in a closed room rather than piling them up in a corner of the garden,
- Do not let debris accumulate on the ground but take them to the recycling center as you go,
- Pick up fruit and vegetables that have fallen on the ground as regularly as possible and place them in the composter,
- Space your plantations sufficiently, suitable distances between the plants favoring the penetration of light into the heart of the plants,
- Regularly inspect cachepots, which provide good shelter for slugs and snails.
It should be noted that snails can lock themselves in their shell and remain there for 3 or 4 years after having hermetically sealed it with a mucus operculum. We therefore also eliminate the shells that we believe to be uninhabited.
Prevent slugs and snails from reaching plants
It is possible to use 100% natural solutions to no longer have to deplore the invasions of molluscs in the garden.
- And copper tape in contact with which the molluscs receive an electric shock,
- And anti-insect filet which constitutes a barrier,
- leaves of rhubarb macerated which act as a repellent,
- Of the egg shells coarsely broken to slow the progression of slugs and snails,
- A layer of sable all around the plantations, difficult for gastropods to cross,
- A layer of sawdust in the vegetable garden, preventing the molluscs from progressing,
- From ash distributed around the perimeter to be protected, stopping the progression of slugs and snails.
These are natural solutions that can actually limit the damage in the vegetable garden, in the ornamental garden or on the terrace, but you still have to be vigilant.
Exterminate slugs and snails
It is of course strongly recommended to start your fight by manually dislodging gastropods so as not to be invaded, the objective being to limit the use of products whatever they are. We preferably operate after a downpour or when the sun is down for two or three hours because that’s when these molluscs are in full activity. By inspecting the plants from every angle with a flashlight, it is then very easy to locate the undesirables with or without shell. Just pick them up by hand.
Soapy water and isopropyl alcohol
Manually collected gastropods are exterminated by immersing them in a bucket of soapy water. Some gardeners dip slugs and snails inIsopropylic alcohol (commonly referred to as therubbing alcohol) while others offer them to their hens who love them, but still it is necessary to raise gallinaceae… To each his own method.
The beer trap
Beer traps are simple to set up. Just push into the ground, in different strategic places in the garden, plastic cups which is then filled with beer. Slugs are attracted by the smell of the beverage and therefore come in large numbers to enjoy it. Some fall into the goblet and drown. The problem is that beer attracts all the slugs in the sector… By resorting to this solution, the gardener runs a high risk, in fineto be more trapped than molluscs.
In addition, beer also attracts many allies such as hedgehogs and auxiliary insects. The former, once tipsy, are killed by their predators since they no longer have any reaction (unless care has been taken to opt for non-alcoholic beer), while the latter drown in the goblets. Clearly, beer traps are not the best solution for exterminating slugs and snails.
To eliminate molluscs from the garden, it is also possible to use slug traps that can be obtained in garden centers or in certain supermarkets that reserve a few shelves for gardening products. Beware of gastropod baits that contain metaldehyde, an effective active ingredient certainly since it leads to a rapid death of these undesirables, but chemical which it is better not to abuse. These blue pellets are to be placed at the foot of the plants. Attracted, slugs and snails ingest them and then die.
Only, from the first rain, the granules dissolve in the soil which they pollute and contaminate the vegetables and aromatics of the garden which become toxic. If one wishes safely control gastropods in the garden, it is therefore necessary to deposit metaldehyde baits in cups so that the chemical product is not in contact with the ground.
We may prefer the ferric phosphatevery effective too, and which has the merit of being registered on the list of products that can be used in organic farming. To be ingested by slugs, this biocontrol product must be incorporated into a bait.
Biological control of nematodes
Nematodes are roundworms. There are a multitude of species, some of which are garden helpers because these worms attack slugs and snails but do not affect plants. We can therefore put an end to gastropods by opting for microscopic ones. Ph nematodes (Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita). They are allies of the gardener because they colonize the body of their hosts who eventually die. The powder containing nematodes can be purchased from a garden centre. She must be first diluted in water then sprayed wherever it is needed.
Attract shellfish predators
The best solution to adopt is ultimately to invite animals that feed on slugs and snails to the garden, which is the case with hedgehogsof the toads and frogs. And they, at least, do not cause damage to crops. We therefore install hedgehog shelters and if we have the possibility, we can create a small pond to attract frogs and toads. All are great predators of gastropods but they are not the only ones. We can also count on the precious help of the golden beetlefrom glow-wormof the’the courtyard or even the song thrush.