If all you grow is indoor potted plants, or of your container garden is on a balcony or deck, you may never have to deal with slugs. But if you have a patio or porch container garden on the ground, you may find yourself slugging it out with these pests.
The slug family is a very big one, known as Gastroda Mollisc. They are distant cousins to snails. In fact, some slugs are only differentiated from snails by having no shell. Slugs include marine, freshwater and land creatures. Terrestrial slugs around the world are agricultural pests. According to the University of Kentucky, slugs are responsible for one third of all wheat crop losses in the United Kingdom each year. Slugs are also responsible for significant losses in crops ranging from strawberries to soybeans.
Signs of slugs include a silvery, slimy trail that show where these molluscs have been and chew holes in leaves. if you lift the leavesnof your plants, you may se tiny slugs on the underside. Yuck! Fortunately, there are several easy ways to combat these pests.
Keep Your Plants High and Dry
Slugs thrive in moist, dark environments. This is why they are a common problem in shade gardens. Try to water your plants early in the day and keep the containers in an area with good air circulation. The pests are also most active at night. By watering early, you will give your plants and their surroundings a chance to dry before the slugs become active. You should also elevate your containers by using plant stands or pot feet so that they drain well, dry quicklyand do not create an environment for slugs.
Clean Up After Yourself
Slugs and their cousin snails like to hang out around dead and decaying plant material. Itnis already a good idea to remove this material anyways since it promotes diseases. But removing the decaying material will get rid of any potential slug habitat around your container plants.
Mulch Around Your Plants
I wrote yesterday of the benefits of mulch. Mulch helps to lock in water to your soil and lowers the number of times that you must water. Mulch also creates a hostile environment for slugs. Mulch with rough edges such as bark or rock is unpleasant to slugs. Then pests will avoid plants surrounded by mulch like this. Gritty substances such as sand or crushed eggshells will also work well.
Slugs have acidic slime. When the slugs come into contact with a strip of copper, they will recieve a shock. You can deter slugs by wrapping a coppers wire around your containers or by using coppers planters.
Remove By Hand
If you find slugs on your plants, you can remove them by hand and either crush them or throw them into a bucket of soapy water.