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Earth-Friendly Slug Control: Fending Off the Midnight Marauders
Published: 02/02/2012

Slippery nocturnal creatures slide into your garden and munch away on tender shoots, leaving slimy, damaged plants in their wake. Arm yourself with eco-sound tactics to trick, trap and otherwise dissuade ravenous slugs.

Ugh...slugs! Though they play an invaluable ecological role as decomposers, the role they play in your garden is hardly a welcome one. To prevent the decimation of your cultivated gems, try one or more of the following tricks.

Watering your garden in the evening creates a perfectly moist environment for slugs as they enjoy their nightly party. Instead try a morning watering time, allowing moisture to evaporate before the little munchers come out to play. Regularly remove dead leaves from plants and keep the soil loose and aerated to makes the area less attractive to slugs.

Slugs love beer and will gladly drown themselves in half-buried cups of brew. Cover the container, make a hole in the side for slugs to enter and replace beer every few days. Citrus rinds can function as a nonlethal trap: cut an orange or grapefruit in half, hollow out the innards and place rinds face down in the dirt. In the morning, harvest your trappings. Live slugs can be fed to birds, chickens or ducks, or relocated to another area. Dead, alcohol-infused slugs should be buried or flushed to prevent local birds from getting wasted.

Slugs won't crawl over sharp or spiky ground. Surrounding your garden and/or individual plants with grit, sandpaper, diatomaceous earth or crushed eggshells will keep them away.

Finally, there's copper. The metal reacts with slug slime, causing a nonlethal electroshock to the animal. Copper tape, tubing or wire can be placed or wrapped around individual plants to protect them; you can also surround the perimeter of your grow space, but be careful not to trap slugs inside! - By Jenna Boyle Feehan

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