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Prevention and Elimination of Slugs and Snails

by on August 13, 2012

Anyone who has ever had a garden probably knows that seeing a slug or snail is cause for much more worry than just the general icky-ness they present. These slimy insects can wreak havoc on a garden, especially those gardens that include fruit plants or trees, which slugs and snails seem to prefer.

Since slugs and snails are hermaphrodites, they don’t need a mate to take over your garden, but they can in fact create a serious population problem. In one season, a slug or snail can lay up to 500 eggs. Since they tend to reproduce during warmer climates, it’s best to get a tree care regimen in place before they have a chance to procreate.

Many people are familiar with the old “pour salt on the slugs and snails and watch them shrivel up” philosophy. However, tree care agents do not recommend this method because it can alter the chemical make-up of your ground, causing even more damage than what’s already occurred due to the slugs and snails. Believe it or not, beer is the answer. They find the smell alluring and drown in the hoppy concoction. And best yet, no Phoenix pesticides required. If you don’t want to go the death route, tree care experts suggest just moving them to another location, far away from your garden.

But of course the best route is to deter slugs and snails from coming to your garden in the first place. If you have the option, change your plants so that your garden is filled with less-enticing plants (see above regarding their preference for fruit plants and trees). Baits and traps can be set and should be used before cooler temperatures turn into warmer climates, since slugs and snails hibernate during the winter. If you’re not keen on chemicals, tree care agents say there are traps that use electricity rather than chemicals to keep these plant-munching critters away from your gorgeous garden. If you do opt for poison, you may also want to use another method for back-up, as experience has shown that poison alone does not stop them from doing damage. Using poison also runs the risk of harming other wildlife, plants and possibly pets and children.

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