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Organic Slug Control

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Finding Organic Slug Control Isn’t Impossible!

But finding a truly organic slug control product or homemade slug bait that really works can be tough. And that’s especially in Seattle where it rains so much.  That’s because many “safe” slug control products and “natural” home remedies melt in the wet. Plus, slugs thrive in our damp, relatively warm weather. So, what’s a gardener to do?

Slug-free lily flower

These lilies were protected from slugs & looked great from stem to bloom!

Most pelleted “pet safe” products melt quick in the wet…

So if you aren’t re-applying these pet safe and often organic slug controls after every soggy day, the slugs will make a meal of your plants. So that means your lilies, veggies and hostas will be munched before you know it.

What about using beer as an organic slug control?

Beer-filled cups will lure in these gastropods to their death. But it doesn’t take much rain to dilute the beer to the point where it’s no longer a viable death trap for those slimers.

Plus, offering up beer may actually lure more slugs toward your garden – not ideal!

Can I buy any organic slug control products that work?

Garden Mentors was offered free samples of a Slug Gone to trial in our soggy, slug-filled Seattle gardens. We were not paid or otherwise compensated to try these free samples. This is what we learned from using it.

What’s Slug Gone made from?

Supplier statement: Slug Gone is completely natural product made from 100% waste wool, a by-product of the wool-scouring industry in England. Slug Gone has achieved Soil Association approval in the UK, permitting it’s use in organic food production in the European Union.

What we found: This stuff definitely smells like a sheep! But that’s not surprising since this is a waste byproduct of the wool industry. So, if you don’t mind a slight barnyard smell, this won’t be off-putting. Our border collie really liked the smell and took a couple of nibbles, but soon she wasn’t interested in either the taste or the scent. And, she didn’t get sick from what she munched.

Slug Gone in Garden

How Does Slug Gone Work?

Supplier statement: Slug Gone is not a pesticide or poison. Slug Gone is a barrier to slugs and snails. When applied in a continuous mat around a plant, the wool pellets will self-felt to form a barrier that is very irritating to the foot of a slug or snail. (it’s the hooks and barbs in wool fibers that make it itchy and irritating to the foot of a slug or snail) These pests will simply choose to eat elsewhere, preserving the biodiversity in the garden while protecting your plants.

What we found: If your barrier is thick and has zero breaks in it, slugs may try to cross it. But they’ll give up. However, if they can climb something else nearby, they will cross the barrier.

What do they say Slug Gone will do other than Organic Slug Control?

Supplier statement: Slug Gone is a weed barrier: Weeds are prevented from coming up through the wool mat, and seeds that land on top of the mat are less likely to germinate since the surface of the mat will dry quickly.

What we found: Since it rains in Seattle a lot and since we water our garden, the mat doesn’t stay dry. So weeds will germinate in the wool barrier, but they’re easy to pull. Just be sure that you don’t create a break in the mat circle or slugs can get through.

Supplier statement: Slug Gone is a moisture mulch: Slug Gone forms a barrier that allows water to penetrate the surface, but reduces evaporation from the soil.

What we found: Wool is a bit waxy, but once it gets wet it does stay soggy, releasing moisture slowly into the root zone below. Plants didn’t seem to dry out any more or less than others if they were surrounded by Slug Gone.

Wool is warm…is that a good thing?

Supplier statement: Slug Gone is a thermal barrier: Wool is a natural insulator. Slug gone will keep roots cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Slug Gone will add organic matter: Slug gone will last for 8-14 months as it biodegrades. During this process, Slug Gone will be adding organic material to condition the soil. Slug Gone will not wash out or blow away.

Slug Gone in vegetable garden

Surrounding freshly seeded beds with Slug Gone resulted in lots of burned seedlings near the Slug Gone perimeter. Waiting to surround emerged plants worked much better for us.

What we found: It’s important to keep Slug Gone away from tender young stems and early seedlings. The organic matter it adds seems to release some “hot” nutrients right away, which established perennials, such as Hosta, seem to do fine with. But freshly seeded veggies may not be able to handle it. Also, how long an application will last does vary significantly. In our sandy loam and rainy climate, a single application easily lasted from spring until autumn. Then, it simply decomposed into the garden. A new application will be necessary each growing season.

Are there any warnings about using Slug Gone?

Supplier statement: If the plant grows larger during the season, and leaves bend down to touch the soil beyond the wool mat, be sure to place more pellets there to keep slugs from crawling up the leaves.

What we found: Yep! Given the chance to slime their way up a leaf outside the Slug Gone slug control barrier, slugs will do it. But, as the growing season progressed and summer got hot and dry, there weren’t many slugs out there trying to munch down fully emerged plants like our hostas.

Slug Gone applied to Hostas

Before our hostas emerged, we encircled the sprouts with a barrier of Slug Gone, watered it in & didn’t need to reapply all season long.

Can I just use sheep wool instead?

Because Slug Gone can be difficult to find and expensive to use in large amounts, we tried using sheep’s wool. And we were able to purchase a lot of waste wool from one of our nearby farmers. In fact it cost a lot less to buy a lot more wool this way. And it worked pretty well!

Slugs will try to get past the wool. And in fact, we found one napping in a nest of damp wool. But more often than not, a wool barrier worked really well.

Do slugs have predators?

Yes! Slugs do have predators.

So if you have ducks, they’ll eat your slugs. But chickens may be more picky. Some chickens gladly eat slugs. However many will turn up their beaks instead.

And the best predators for organic slug control are garter snakes. But the only problem here is that slugs start eating plants when it is cooler than garter snakes prefer. However, if you have cool, damp summers, the garter snakes will do organic slug control for you then.

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