As you probably know, slugs are common in gardens, and you can find them eating pretty much every plant. The popular consensus is that slugs are not good for gardens. So, are slugs bad for your garden or are there some benefits?
Although slugs do bring some minor benefits with them, slugs are bad for your garden for the most part, unfortunately.
Gardeners are always looking for solutions to kill slugs in their garden. This is because a slug infestation can cause extensive, long-term damage.
Slugs are bad for gardens as they eat more than their own weight. Slugs can destroy your plants overnight. In addition to eating leaves, slugs also cause destruction underneath the soil by eating roots.
Is It Good to Have Slugs in your Garden?
We all know that slugs have a bad reputation, especially among gardeners. However, it can be surprising to learn that slugs are beneficial, and they serve more purposes than just destroying plants.
Firstly, slugs are prey to many animals and can attract them to your garden, like birds and hedgehogs. Animals get high levels of protein from slugs and lots of nutrients by consuming slugs. Ultimately, slugs are an essential part of the food chain.
Other than plants, slugs also eat things that can provide benefits to you. Slugs consume dead matter and vegetation. Therefore, they serve the purpose of being decomposers. It can be helpful to have slugs in your garden as they can clean it by eating dead organisms, plants and animal faeces.
In some rare cases, you will be surprised to know that slugs are also pollinators. Slugs are largely perceived as consuming plants. However, as slugs eat different plants, they help spread the seed.
Slugs can also spread the seeds which are found in faeces from other animals.
Do Slugs Destroy Gardens?
While there are benefits to having slugs, you also have to face an extensive list of drawbacks. Slugs can cause severe damage to gardens and destroy them. Therefore, you should not let the population get out of control.
Slugs have the ability to climb plants and will reach the leaves and fruits way up high. Unfortunately, a lot of flowers and fruits are susceptible to slug damage. These slimy pests do not know when to stop eating and will eat more than their own weight.
In cases of heavy infestations, plants get destroyed overnight.
It is not only the plants above ground that are at risk but also what is underneath. Slugs cause damage to plant roots, tubers and bulbs underground. When slug attacks the roots, they weaken the foundation.
Similarly, when you plant bulbs in your garden, they are at risk of getting destroyed by slugs. Slugs eat the bulbs not long after you plant them – and you won’t know about it!
As they damage the bulb, they impact the quality of the plant, which results in stunted growth.
Having a few slugs in your garden should not be much of a problem. On the other hand, having a full infestation can pose serious issues for a gardener. Slugs tend to attract others through the slimy trail they leave behind.
Slugs are also carriers of the lungworm parasite. The parasite is found in rats, and since slugs feed on the droppings, they carry it. Therefore, if you have pets or animals, they can consume the infected slug and get the parasite. This is why they’re hugely dangerous for cats and dogs.
How to Keep Slugs from Damaging Gardens
While slugs are beneficial, they cause more harm than good from a gardener’s perspective. It becomes important to adopt methods to keep slugs from damaging gardens.
You can handpick the slugs from your plants if you have a few slugs instead of a full-blown infestation. This is quite time-consuming and will require a bit of effort. You will need to handpick the slugs during the evening or the morning when they come out.
Another way to deal with slugs is to use traps. You can opt for commercially available beer traps, but you can also make your own. You can also use citrus rinds to trap slugs as they are quite attracted to them.
Slugs do not like powerful smells and are known to avoid the area. Therefore, you can grow plants that slugs do not like, such as lavender, rosemary and garlic. You can either create a boundary with these plants or place them among your vulnerable plants to protect them.
Slugs can be bad for your garden as they eat the plants and damage them. These pests have destructive habits and eat more than their own weight in plant matter. As a result, gardeners have experienced that their plants are destroyed overnight.
In addition, slugs are carriers of the dangerous lungworm parasite, which can spread to pets.
There are some benefits to having slugs. They form an important part of the ecosystem by preying on many garden animals. In addition, slugs clear the ground by feeding on dead matter and plants detritus.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden