Garden Snails & Slug Control | 23+ Measures & Methods

You are looking for biological methods to control slugs and snails?

We tested more than 23 measures to protect vegetables and flowers.

Spanish slug on flower
What really helps against slugs and snails?

What methods are available? Which are worth trying?

Creativity and inventiveness seem almost inexhaustible when it comes to warding off slugs and snails.

Some recommended counter-measures are for example:

  • Coffee
  • Salt
  • Eggshells
  • Ash
  • Sheep’s wool
  • Liverwort extract
  • Rock flour.

And increasing snail and slug infestations have fired the inventive spirit.

slug barriers fence collar copper paint
New methods to ward off slugs?

Some other ideas include:

  • Snail fences
  • Copper tape
  • Snail & slug collars
  • Slug-repelling paint etc…

A total of 23 methods are compiled in this list.

Unfortunately, not all of them hold what they promise.

Slug-control ideas and what they really do

ashes deter slugs and snails
Ash against slugs?

Ash

Effectiveness: little to useless

If the ashes are bone dry, they may repel small slugs and snails. But once it rains, it loses all effectiveness. Larger snails and slugs also cannot be repelled by ash.

Side effects: positive to dangerous

Generally, ash is a useful fertilizer which is rich in minerals. But unfortunately, it is often also contaminated with heavy metals, which do not belong in a vegetable garden.

More information here: Ashes against slugs.

beer trap
Beer traps are counter-productive.

Beer traps

Effectiveness: Counter-productive

Beer traps only lure more slugs into the garden. Due to the strong attraction through yeast, the only person benefitting from this method will be your neighbor, whose garden will suddenly be snail-free.

Side effects: dire

Slugs natural enemies also suffer from these traps. Ground beetles perish in them and hedgehogs can get poisoned from the alcohol.

More information here: Beer traps for slugs and snails?

eggshell against slugs and snails
Do broken eggshells repel slugs & snails?

Eggshells

Effectiveness: little to useless

We concluded an experiment, which showed a minimal repelling effect the eggshells had. A small effect was noticeable, especially on snails. Larger slugs, however, won’t be repelled.

Side effects: positive

Eggshells are full of nutrients and therefore greatly aid the soil and the growth of plants.

More information on this method can be found here: Crushed Eggshells against slugs?

sheeps wool slug control wolf
Does sheep wool scare slugs?

Hair or wool

Effectiveness: excellent until it rains

This experiment was really convincing. All slugs and snails were repelled successfully. But after the first rainfall, all protection was gone. This method can be used in places protected from rain.

Side effects: positive

Sheep’s wool is a natural carbon fertilizer. What’s more, wool also often contains feces, which benefits the soil even more.

More information can be found here: Sheep’s wool against slugs and snails!

coffee against slugs and snails
Can coffee be used?

Coffee powder or grounds

Effectiveness: little to useless

Very dry coffee grounds have a repelling effect, which is only down to the dryness. Inconclusive yet is the question, how well a coffee concentrate spray works.

Side effects: positive

Coffee too is rich in nutrients, and earthworms love coffee grounds. Therefore, they are always welcome and helpful in flowerbeds.

More information can be found here: Coffee against slugs and snails.

lime against slugs snails
Could garden lime be the solution?

Lime

Effectiveness: questionable

Available are quicklime, slack lime and nitrolime. The effectiveness is questionable, as rain is once more a spoilsport. Nitrolime appears to be effective, but is harmful to your health, to your plants and the health of animals.

Side effects: positive to dangerous

Garden lime is useful if a soil is too acidic. At the same time, too much lime leads to a high pH-level, which many plants dislike.

More on this here: Lime against snails.

diatomaceous earth against slugs and snails
Diatomaceous earth to control slugs and snails?

Diatomaceous earth

Effectiveness: questionable

I have not yet managed to test diatomite, but it doesn’t seem to be a miracle remedy. As it is very dry, its effect will probably abate once it starts to rain.

Side effects: dubious to dangerous

This material can harm the lungs. Furthermore, it is a strong insecticide and thus harmful to the main natural enemies of slugs and snails: Which insects eat slugs?

More here: Diatomaceous earth against slugs and snails.

copper against slugs and snails
How to use copper?

Copper

Effectiveness: good, but not 100%

Copper deters slugs and snails, but not all of them. Our experiment indicated that about 90 percent could be repelled.

Side effects: none

Copper has no side effects.

More information, including on the experiment, here: Copper against slugs and snails.

indian runner duck as slug control
Are runner ducks the solution?

Runner Ducks

Effectiveness: good

Runner ducks love eating slugs and snails.

Side effects: positive to dubious

As runner ducks move around a lot, they also fertilize the entire garden. This could, however, can be annoying.

They also demand a lot of care and need to be looked after.

More about keeping ducks here: Runner ducks against slugs and snails.

Lava rocks granulate against slugs snails

Lava rocks

Effectiveness: medium

A snail barrier made with lava rock granules showed some effect.

Side effects: positive

You can use these small volcanic stones as mulch or mix them in with soil. They improve the general health of the ground and prevent rot and decay.

More information can be found here: Lava rocks against slugs and snails.

mint against slugs snails

Mint

Effectiveness: medium

After some failures, our test indicated that dried mint could deter slugs. Its effectiveness when wet remains questionable.

Side effects: none to positive

The leaves smell good and mulch the ground. So far, there are no known negative effects.

More details here: Mint against slugs and snails.

snail moss liverwort
What can moss extract be used for?

Liverwort extract

Effectiveness: questionable

We have not yet been able to test moss extract. But there are contradictory opinions about the effectiveness.

Side effects: positive

Liverwort also serves as a so-called plant strengthening agent, which is also supposed to prevent fungal and bacterial infestation.

starfish sea shell sand grit for slugs

Shell sand

Effectiveness: questionable

We have not yet been able to test this remedy either, but we plan tests for the coming season.

Side effects: harmless

Crushed seashells can be used as mulch or to create pathways.

More information can be found here: Crushed seashells against snails.

nematodes against slugs and snails
How dangerous is it to use nematodes?

Nematodes

Effectiveness: works against some slugs, not Spanish slugs

Since the nematodes live in the soil, they only infest slugs that live partly underground. Many slugs and snails do not do that, e.g., the Spanish slug.

Side effects: dubious to dangerous

Nematodes can be dangerous for people with weak immune systems. We therefore advise against using these parasites. There are less dangerous means of repelling slugs and snails.

More on this here: Nematodes against slugs and snails.

plant hats slug snail protection

Plant hats & garden cloches

Effectiveness: good

These protective covers don’t only protect from frost, but also from slugs and snails. Plant hats and garden cloches can also be combined with other slug and snail barriers.

Side effects: positive

They offer optimal growing conditions and protect young and small plants from many dangers.

More information can be found here: With plant hat and garden cloche against slugs and snails.


Peaceful Plant Protection

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sawdust wood shavings slugs

Sawdust and wood shavings

Effectiveness: questionable

The test we carried out showed that although a few snails were deterred, others immediately hid inside. Rain will probably also completely destroy the deterrent.

Side effects: positive to dubious

In itself, it is a good idea to mulch with sawdust or wood shavings. However, if too much is used, the ratio of nutrients in the soil can shift unfavorably.

More on this here: Sawdust against slugs and snails.

salt kills slugs
Can salt be used?

Salt

Effectiveness: questionable

Scattering salt in the garden is forbidden by law and also really not a good idea.

Side effects: questionable to dangerous

Salt over acidifies the soil and makes it infertile. The living organisms in the soil and also the plants suffer from acidic soil and eventually die off.

More information can be found here: Salt against slugs and snails.

plate as slug trap

Snail and slug traps

Effectiveness: good

Live traps for slugs and snails are an effective way to reduce their population. You can be tricky and create specific places where the animals hide during the day. Then collecting them is easy.

Side effects: none

More information can be found here: Snail and slug traps.

slug pellets: slug and snail baits

Snail & Slug pellets

Effectiveness: questionable to counter-productive

Slug pellets help in the short term, but in the long term they stand in the way of successful slug control. This is because slug pellets harm the slugs’ enemies and prevent biological equilibrium from being established.

Side effects: poisonous to deadly

In addition, useful snails are also killed, such as leopard slugs, which are also among the enemies of the Spanish slug. In addition, the pellets are dangerous for pets and even humans, which can be fatal. Iron phosphate is also particularly problematic, as the snails do not die immediately here, they still have plenty of time to multiply beforehand.

More information can be found here: Dangers of slug pellets and baits.

snail slug collar salad
What are slug collars?

Slug collars

Effectiveness: good

Slug barriers are a great method to protect single plants. They are, however, less helpful than snail fences.

Side effects: none

More information can be found here: Snail and slug collars.


Slug Collars | Snail & Slug Control for single plants | Multipack

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Electric snail and slug fence

Effectiveness: good

Electric slug fences work well as long as they are powered with sufficient electricity. But there is always the danger of a power outage.

Side effects: none to maybe

As a rule, no side effects are to be expected. But electricity always means a small fire hazard. More on this here: Electric snail / slug fence.

slug and snail fence test

 

Mechanical slug and snail fences

Effectiveness: excellent

These fences are effective and perhaps one of the safest ways to protect plants. Their special edge keeps slugs out of garden and flowerbeds. Since we wanted to be sure before recommending these fences, we did some testing.

More on this here: Snail and slug fence test.

Side effects: none

More on the different models here: Snail and slug fence guidelines.

schnexagon slug and snail repelling paint coating

Schnexagon (Slug-repelling paint)

Effectiveness: very good to medium

The protective coating works well against slugs. But it is not weatherproof indefinitely. After a certain period of time – depending on the weather – it has to be reapplied.

Side effects: none

More information can be found here: Slug-repelling paint/coating.

rock dust foot step moon

Rock flour

Effectiveness: questionable

The experiment indicated a slightly deterrent effect. But large slugs and snails were hardly impressed. Here, too, rain or irrigation will cancel the effect.

Side effects: positive

The rock flour contains trace elements and minerals. Therefore, it is useful for plant health and growth.

More on this here: Rock dust against slugs and snails.

snail faces water barrier
Are water obstacles useful against snails?

Water barriers

Effectiveness: good to very good

Land snails cannot breathe underwater. Therefore, sufficiently deep and wide water obstacles are usually insurmountable for them. Our test indicated that slugs in particular have a problem with water – keelback slugs less so.

Side effects: positive

A positive side effect is that other animals, e.g., birds, hedgehogs or beneficial insects, can use the barriers as a source of water.

More info about the test here: Water barriers against slugs and snails.

ground beetle slug snail enemy

Other methods to control slugs & snails

The establishment of natural predators in a garden is an important alternative.

For example, hedgehogs, toads, or even birds and especially ground beetles can play a big role in reducing the snail population.

Find out here: How to get hedgehogs to settle in your garden.

Birds are also helpful, especially with young snails.

Learn here: How to attract birds and make them stay.

General information on predators here: Attracting natural enemies of snails and slugs.

In addition, there are plants with scents that are supposed to repel snails.


Flowers as protection against snails & slugs

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Soil cultivation also plays a decisive role.

The soil should be as fine-grained as possible so that slugs and snails cannot hide in cavities.

Proper irrigation is also significant. Slugs love moist soil.

Therefore, it is important to only water the garden when the soil can dry again by the evening. Then the slugs cannot move so quickly at night.

Added to this is the appropriate choice of varieties.

For this purpose, we have compiled lists of slug-resistant plants.


Snail & Slug-Resistant Plants

slug resistant flowersWhich plants-vegetables-herbs slugs do not eat tomatos
Slug-resistant flowers: perennials and annualsSlug-resistant vegetables and herbs

It is further possible to create a sacrificial bed – with plants that slugs particularly love.

Then hopefully they will increasingly leave the other areas in the garden alone, and you can simply collect them from the sacrificial plants.

More on this here: Plants that slugs and snails love.

Collection is the classic method. It helps to create hiding places where they like to stay during the day.

Then you don’t have to look for them at night and can comfortably collect them there.

More info here: Live traps for slugs and snails.


Peaceful Slug Control & Plant Protection

Snail & Slug Repellent Copper Tape | AdhesiveGarden Plant Cloche | Multipack
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Sheep Wool PelletsSlug Collars | Multipack
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Mindful consumption: Please only buy what you or your garden really need.


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