Slug collars are small snail protection rings made out of plastic and sometimes of metal.
Their edge is bent like the edge of a slug fence pointing outward – similar to a collar.
Snails are irritated by this edge and thus have difficulties to overcome the barrier – slugs more than snails.
They lose their grip and therefore turn around or fall down (test video below).
Normally slug collars are used to protect young plants, as they are particularly vulnerable.
Their green transparent color continues to let the sunlight through.
Connected with a protective plant cover as a lid the collar creates a small greenhouse, which slugs and snails can hardly penetrate.
Slug and snail collars in the test
The effectiveness of slug collars is controversial. That’s why I performed an experiment.
For this I placed marigolds inside a slug collar and placed some freshly collected slugs and snails around it.
Slug collar test video
The video shows a time lapse over 32 minutes:
While some snails tried to get to the marigolds – one of their favorite dishes – none of them made the way inside.
The snails seem confused that they would have to take a detour to get to their destination.
In addition, the outer sharp edge is a problem for them- same as with the metal slug fence.
So the test shows that snail collars are a peaceful way to protect endangered plants from slugs and snails.
Therefore, I use them myself and can recommend them to all gardeners who would like to protect single plants.
The long-term test shows that the collars do not stop all invaders but most of them.
This helps endangered plants to survive critical phases.
In the title picture you can see runner beans, which probably would not have survived without the collar.
Slug collar application
The application is simple and self-explanatory.
The slug collars are slipped over the plants and pressed lightly into the ground.
For large plants, the collar can be carefully unraveled.
Then it is put around plants that are too big to slip it over.
If it is still cold, the collar can be combined with a plant protection bell (Victorian bell), if the diameters match.
Then both become a small greenhouse under which the plants can thrive against snails, wind and weather.
An effective way to be 100% sure is to close the opening with mosquito nets.
Then the plants are protected not only from snails, but also for example from the cabbage white butterfly or other larger pests.
The net can be left on the collar during the day without any problems.
This may not look very nice, but it is a safe protection, which I recommend especially in the self-made models.
Video self made slug collars
If you do not understand German just copy what you can see or use the generated subtitles for more information:
DIY- Make slug collars yourself
As the video shows: Old plastic buckets can easily be transformed into slug collars – especially super if they come with a lid.
Therefore to save money, you can make homemade slug collars.
Simply take big yogurt cups or plastic buckets with a wide margin.
Remove the bottom of the cup/bucket and you’ve finished the self-made collar.
But unfortunately, these home-made models are usually less effective because their edges are not wide enough.
A small drawback to self-construction is also that these buckets or pails are usually not transparent and can thus cast a shadow over the plants.
Hence for small plants nontransparent models are not ideal but for larger plants this is no problem.
If possible, try to use transparent materials.
It’s even better if they also have a lid. Because as long as the plants are still small, a lid adds a great additional protection.
If the cup do not come with a lid, it is also possible to build it yourself.
Thus simply a piece of wood, plastic or cardboard can be cut in form so that it fits exactly in or on top of the collars opening.
This enhances the safety of the plants and protects them also against frost, hail, birds and rabbits.
Even more ideas on the subject here: self made snail protection
Disadvantages of slug collars
The main disadvantage is that slug/snail collars offer protection only to a few plants.
Therefore, it can be difficult to secure a large garden and many plants in this way.
Another problem is that larger plants can only be protected cumbersome, also because they grow over the edge more easily and thereby bridges arise which slugs can use.
Since the collars are not deeply embedded in the soil (only one or two inches/centimeter), they are not able to protect the plants against slugs which live and move underground (grey field slug).
Moreover cheap versions are not very stable and can break by pushing them into the ground. They need to be used with a lot of mindfulness.
Another drawback may be that the plastic rings might be perceived as unaesthetic in the garden.
Advantages of slug collars
Also against the Spanish slugs a snail collar works relatively well and safely.
As a result, for example individual salads or young cabbages, can be protected quickly and easily.
With this method, no snail will is injured or needs to be killed and yet the plants are protected from slugs.
Another advantage is that the collars help to pour water better more efficiently.
The collar serves as slug protection and pouring ring at the same time.
The combinability with plant protection bells or mosquito nets offers many possibilities and makes this method additionally attractive.
Properly applied, these protective rings can be a good protection that protects the most vulnerable plants.
In combination with garden bells they make a lot of sense, because they become miniature greenhouses.
The price of around 1.50 dollar / pounds / euros per piece does not seem too expensive, considering that they can be used again and again with the appropriate care-taking for several years.
One important point is that no snail needs to be killed or injured to protect the plants. That’s why I can clearly recommend this method.
Snail collars will make gardening more peaceful and enjoyable and that is maybe their most important benefit.
Once you get used to their sight, they can even look pretty neat.
Anyway, since snail collars only help individual plants and are not 100% safe, they should be combined with other measures.
Products and prices
The common snail collars are made of transparent green plastic and have a height of about 12cm / 8 inches.
The diameter at the bottom is about 14cm / 9 inches at the bottom and about 20cm /12 inches at the top. The dimensions vary depending on the manufacturer.
The cost per snail collar amounts to about 1 to 2 dollar / pounds / euros per piece.
Prices are depending on the quality and quantity. Usually they are offered in sets of 5 to 10 pieces.
Cheaper models are usually a little fragile and not as durable as the more expensive variants.
Since I consider snail collars to be effective and at the same time harmless, I recommend them as a means of effective slug control.
Alternatives to slug collars
There are some other slug control methods that might interest you:
slug fences (soon)