The Q&A Archives: Deterring Slugs

Question: I want to plant my hollyhocks by my back door, but I've notived that there are a lot slugs around there. How can I protect my seedling from the nightly prey? Thank you. Shelby Little Lakeland, FL

Answer: There are lots of ways to foil slugs, and I suggest using a combination of tactics. You can make life hard for them by removing leaf litter or other mulch from the soil surface and spreading a thin layer of sand on the ground instead. This will do awaywith their daytime hiding places and create a rough "walking" surface which they should avoid. Spreading a layer of diatomaceous earth around the base of your plants can help, too. If this doesn't do the trick, the Burpee catalog features a Slug Bar on p.103 of the Spring 1997 catalog. I have heard that slugs are more attracted to non-alcoholic beer, but any beer should do. Also, many gardening catalogs carry copper slug barrier tape (Gardener's Supply Co. 1-800-863-1700; Garden's Alive 1-812-537-8650). If slugs attempt to scale it they'll sizzle to death.

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