Slugs eat a lot of different things, and if you have grass covering your lawn you may be wondering if slugs could cause damage to it. We’ll have a look here at if slugs eat grass and, if so, what we can do to keep the grass in our gardens protected from these pests.
No, slugs do not eat grass blades. However, slugs will eat both grass seeds and seedlings.
Will Slugs Eat Grass?
Slugs do not appear to eat grass blades or fully grown grass. But they can still contribute to preventing grass growth.
They will eat grass seeds and saplings, so if you have patchy areas of your garden where grass will not grow, then it is likely that the slugs are coming out at night and eating any grass seeds that you may be planting.
Now, there are ways in which you can deter slugs away from your garden so that you can plant grass that will be able to grow healthily.
Are Slugs Bad For Your Grass?
Slugs are bad for your grass because they will eat grass seeds and seedlings. If your lawn is pristine then you’re unlikely to have any issues.
However, if you are trying to revitalise your lawn by overseeding it or are trying to repair a patchy area then slugs may be coming out at night and eating your seeds preventing you from recovering your lawn. It becomes a vicious cycle.
How to Stop Slugs From Eating Grass
There are a variety of deterrents that have been tested by gardeners against slugs. Here are some of the more effective methods that you can use to keep slugs off of your grass.
Use a Slug Trap
Slug traps, as you may guess, lure slugs away and trap them. Two of the most effective and natural slug traps to use are grapefruit and beer.
Put some beer in a shallow dish and leave it out overnight, then you can dispose of the slugs that have climbed into the dish of beer.
Alternatively, place half a grapefruit, skin side up, out for a few hours. Make some holes in the skin so the slugs can get in. Then, when you pick up the grapefruit skin, you will scoop up the invading slugs as well so they can be removed from your garden.
Encourage Natural Predators
Encouraging natural slug predators to come into your garden is a great way of keeping the slug population down. One example of a slug predator is the hedgehog.
These creatures will not become pests in your garden but will help to keep the population of slugs down so they do not bother your plants.
You can encourage hedgehogs by having a suitable shelter set up for them in your garden. This is also a good thing to do because many slug predators, like hedgehogs, are declining, so we should be looking after them.
Use Difficult Terrains
Slugs have trouble crossing certain types of terrains as they can be uncomfortable and also quite harmful to the invertebrates. If the grass does not cover your whole garden, then you can surround the border with substances that slugs will not cross.
One example of difficult terrain you can use is gravel. Most different types of gravel work to deter slugs. Slugs will not cross gravel because the small stones are cold and uncomfortable, and their sharp edges can damage them.
Surrounding your grass with gravel will keep the slugs from travelling into the area.
Using coffee grounds is a great way to keep slugs from getting on your grass. Slugs hate caffeine, and they do not like to come into contact with any caffeinated soil. If they do, they will leave immediately.
Sprinkle used coffee grounds (used coffee grounds have more of the caffeine extracted) over the area where you are growing your grass, and it will drive the slugs away.
Using coffee will also help to provide some extra nutrients for your soil that will help your grass to grow. But you should be careful, as too much coffee can risk stunting the growth of your grass.
What Other Pests Eat Grass
So, we’ve established that slugs are unlikely to blame for any eaten blades of fully grown grass. If you seem to be having a problem with something eating grass that has already grown, here is a list of some possible culprits.
There are many types of beetle grubs that you may find in your garden, and all of them are certainly pests for gardeners. Beetle grubs, most commonly chafer grubs, will eat the roots of grass, whether it is growing or fully grown, and this will cause the grass to die.
The best way to deal with grubs is to try and encourage their natural predators into your garden.
Many people love caterpillars, but they can be quite problematic for gardeners. These bugs can often chew on the stalks of your grass. However, these caterpillars come from some rare species of butterflies, so try to avoid removing them if you can.
Armyworms are the larvae of moth species from the family Noctuidae. Whilst I personally love moths myself, these particular moths can become pests, and their larvae even more so.
Much like skipper caterpillars, armyworms will eat the stalks of many different lawn turfs.
There are other explanations as well as to why your grass may not be growing. It is possible that you do not have suitable soil or the right conditions in your garden. It is even possible that your dog or cat may be the one responsible for chewing some of your grass, but you should keep your eyes open for the above insects.
Slugs eat grass, but only grass seeds and grass saplings. You can use traps such as beer and grapefruit to keep slugs away from your growing grass.
You can also sprinkle gravel and used coffee grounds around the border of your grass patch to drive slugs away.
If something is eating the stalks of your grass, it is likely to be a skipper caterpillar or an armyworm.