6 Ways to Say So Long to Slugs

Slugs and snails are a huge problem in many gardens, especially those with tender-leaved plants that have lots of folds or large sheltering leaves low to the ground, such as lettuce, hostas, and tender seedlings. Luckily, there are many ways to stop these critters.

Try these six ways to say so long to slugs!

1. Ammonia and water. Mix equal parts nonsudsing ammonia and water in a spray bottle. Visit the garden on a rainy morning or cool evening and spray the slugs as they feed. This technique is most effective on baby slugs, which thrive in the crowns of hostas and daylilies. As an added bonus, the ammonia converts to nitrogen and acts as a foliar food for the plants (Note: Some ferns and seedlings may suffer leaf burn from this spray. Test on a single leaf first.)

2. Vinegar and water. Mix two parts vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture directly on slugs you see or as you find them under boards or in the crevices of rock gardens. Be careful not to let the spray come in contact with plant foliage.

3. Wood ashes. A ring of wood ashes from your fireplace will discourage slugs from climbing up the stems of plants. Sprinkle the ashes in a band a few inches wide, but don’t let them actually touch the stem of the plant. Caution: If your soil is alkaline, as it is in many parts of the West and Southwest, avoid putting ashes on your soil or in your compost heap. They can raise the pH even higher.

4. A window screen. Cut an old window screen into long strips at least 6 inches wide. Sink the strips 3 inches into the soil so that a fence surrounds your most vulnerable plants.

5. Clay pots. Lure slugs away from your plants to where you can find and destroy them. Set out small clay flowerpots turned upside down and propped up on one side with a flat rock. These traps are attractive enough to use in container plantings.

6. Damp cardboard, rolled-up newspaper, grapefruit rinds, or damp burlap. Position these materials around your garden to collect slugs. Gather the items each morning and destroy the slugs. Or move the slugs, “hotels” and all, to your compost pile.

Adapted from Panty Hose, Hot Peppers, Tea Bags, and More - for the Garden, by the editors of Yankee Magazine (Rodale Press, 2005). Copyright (c) 2005 by the editors of Yankee Magazine. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Adapted from Panty Hose, Hot Peppers, Tea Bags, and More - for the Garden, by the editors of Yankee Magazine (Rodale Press, 2005).

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Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton2 years ago

Thanks for the tips - I'll try the non-kill methods!

Kay M.
Kay M.2 years ago

or live in the desert where it's too dry for them to live.

Kara C.
Kara C.2 years ago

I have few Eastern Water Dragons in my yard, slugs and snails are like crack to them and any they miss i just throw to them :D

Sue H.
Sue H.2 years ago

Or, you could make little tiny signs saying no slugs allowed and place them where appropriate.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson3 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Jean Lord
Jean Lord5 years ago

I see no reason to kill them.

Mari Basque
Mari 's5 years ago

All in nature is important and if humans keep messing with it instead of going with the flow it's going to have negative effects on us personally!!

Mari Basque
Mari 's5 years ago

Why? What did they do to you???

Kerrie G.
Kerrie G.5 years ago

Thanks for the info!