Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

Slug and Snail Attack Plan 101 March 24, 2011

If you live in a marginally moist environment as we do here in the Pacific Northwest, you no doubt have Slugs and you might have Snails too. Here is an outline for the plan that I’ve devised for conquering them!

The first few things you need to think about:

  1. Get ‘em early!
  2. Be consistent!
  3. Use pet safe products!
  4. A great link for some Slug and Snail basics here.

Applying your slug and snail product early in the growing season is key. Get the baby ones before they mature and multiply!

Sluggo is the product that I use here at home. (I’m not being paid or compensated in any way to promote this or any item.) This is one of few snail and slug control products not based on metaldehyde. The active ingredient is a 1% Iron Phosphate that organically breaks down in the soil into fertilizer. It can safely be used around domestic animals and wildlife. This product is also labeled for use in vegetable gardens.

Use your favorite pet safe slug and snail product early in the season. Ring the lawn, because one of the favorite egg laying spots is here so they can make a quick get away into the garden beds unseen by hungry birds. You want to get the babies when they hatch to be proactive in your efforts rather than after the damage is done!

Also, sprinkle the little pellets IN ground covers, rockeries, paths and any moist hiding place. Hide them where they live NOT where they feed. A slug or a snail will commonly climb up into a woody shrub as the sun comes out and come back out as soon as it cools down. Place your product any place where it’s cool and moist or at the base of the shrubs and under the ornamental grasses.

Remember this has a yummy scented bait! Slugs can smell for an impressive distance. If you bait where you DON”T want them to munch, you might kill a few of the bad guys, but you will also invite a bunch of your neighbors slugs to feast on your plants after the bait is gone.

If you want to create a barrier that you CAN safely put around Slug and Snail buffet locations, use a product made of Diatomaceous Earth. I use this brand, because it’s easy for me to find in a small quantity and it lasts forever.


Concern is a crawling insect killer that harnesses the power of diatomaceous earth (85%). Made from the finely ground fossils of prehistoric fresh water diatoms, this product kills cockroaches, ants, silverfish, fleas and slugs. A long-lasting control, it sprinkles into cracks and crevices where bugs hide. Insects cannot develop resistance as there is no build-up of chemical immunity. Insects dies within 48 hours of contact. OMRI-listed and compliant for use in organic gardening.

This product is finer than flour! So stay up wind of it and as it can be a lung irritant avoid inhaling. However, I have found this really easy, safe and convenient way to apply it:

I use these little squeeze bottles, labeled “BUG DEATH”, to get the powder down in the cracks and crevices of leaves and rocks and around the base of plants. This is the equivalent of them trying to crawl through ground glass- I love it!

However as I said above the key is consistency. If it gets rainy right away, you will have to re-apply soon after to be effective. I usually pick a day every week during the moist part of the growing season and patrol the landscape with my little powder, which is also great for Earwigs too!

Even living near MANY ponds and wetlands, I have successfully reduced the populations to more than tolerable levels in about 3 years. Now I only need to be applying when I have little trouble spots.

Good luck and happy slug hunting!


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8 Responses to “Slug and Snail Attack Plan 101”

  1. Robert Says:

    Great info. Have you had luck with using cooper shavings or other non pesticide means? Thanks

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Thanks Robert! Tried the Copper tape, but I’ve never heard of Copper Shavings before. Where do you get them? Sounds like it could get expensive? I have found that if you’re consistent, you don’t have to use much product every year. I’ve gotten to the point of once or twice a year. That’s not very much!

  2. Grateful Gardener Says:

    You can also chech out Slug Shields. They last all season and are non-toxic 100%.

  3. Aerie-el Says:

    To keep the slugs away, I’ve also used Escar-go from GardensAlive.com. Effective and pretty much the same as Sluggo.

  4. commonweeder Says:

    It is always good to get as much advice as possible about the best, least dangerous ways of handling the pests in our gardens. I have used Milky Spore Disease against grubs/Japanese beetles successfully as well as diatomaceous earth against crawling insects.

  5. Karyn Says:

    Thanks for all the slug advice! I’ve been searching for a good repellent…they just eat EVERYTHING in my garden. I came across this video in my search – it’s hilarious! http://youtu.be/cMssG-66oTE …it made me forget my slug problem for a bit :) Enjoy!

  6. Great product to for your lawn and landscape. Slugs are no good.

  7. Leslie Says:

    I use both those products and have found they work really well for me. I LOVE the idea of the ketchup squeeze container for the DE. I will be trying that for sure.


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