Garden Solutions Center Ask the Expert
Got a question? Ask and find your answer right here.
- Miami, FLORIDA
How to repel snails/slugs safely from my vegetable/fruit/herb gardens?
I have an infestation of snails/slugs in my gardens. They have destroyed almost all of my vegetables/herbs/etc. What can I do/use to repel them?
- Oakland, OR
Hi Nanci! I've tried many different ways to repel/destroy snails and slugs in the garden. Here in Oregon, slugs are abundant!
Traps are messy and don't make enough of a dent to control the slug/snail population. My dad used to walk at night with a flashlight and step on snails--something I prefer not to do. I stay clear of poisonous bait as it's toxic to wildlife, pets, and children. Circling your plants with commercial copper bands or rings is effective (copper reacts with the slugs slim and produces a mild electrical current) but can be pricey and time-consuming.
Making your garden more attractive to bug-eating birds is always a natural and effective way to help control slug/snail population. But in our garden we found the birds needed help. So we released decollate snails (Rumina decollata) about 15 years ago. We released them two years in a row. Decollate snails are predatory snails that eat common garden slugs, brown snails and their eggs. Needless to say, slugs and snails have been well under control ever since. It does take a few years for the decollate snails to gain control, but I noticed less plant-eating slugs and garden snails at the end of the first season. You can buy decollate snails online and often at garden centers or nurseries. Good luck!