Slugs are known for being deterred by many things in their surroundings, especially rough surfaces. So does gravel deter slugs and can we use this to our advantage?
Yes, gravel does deter slugs. Although they can cross it, they try to avoid doing so. The surface is rough on their bodies so they will do what they can to avoid it.
Can Slugs Cross Gravel?
Slugs are able to cross gravel. That being said, they do not like to do so. It is difficult for them to drag their bodies across the rough surface. Therefore, they will be much more likely to avoid crossing any surfaces or barriers that contain gravel.
And this means we can use it to deter slugs.
How to Deter Slugs Using Gravel
Using gravel to deter slugs is much easier than you may think. You do not need to overhaul your garden and make sure that all of the ground is coated in gravel, you need to tackle frequently disturbed areas or particularly sensitive plants.
All you need to do is sprinkle gravel around the flower beds that you want to protect.
If the plants you are having problems with are in pots, then sprinkle the gravel on top of the potting soil. It is also a good idea to put some gravel around the base of the pot as an extra precaution to make sure that they don’t try to travel to the plant in the first place.
Why Does Gravel Deter Slugs?
The reason that gravel deters slugs is that gravel is a very difficult terrain for slugs to cross. It is cold and often has many sharp edges. This makes it uncomfortable for slugs and could also cause them injury as they try to cross it.
Because of this, slugs will avoid gravel if they are able to. However, they may risk crossing gravel to get to a source of food if they are really desperate and in need of nutrition, so gravel is not always completely foolproof.
What Other Substances Deter Slugs?
Gravel is not the only thing that you can use to deter slugs. There are other substances you can use that work in a similar way to gravel, here are a couple.
Slate also deters slugs because, like gravel, it is a difficult thing for slugs to cross. It has the same cold and sharp textures as gravel, so it works in a very similar way. Slate is often bigger than gravel, so using slate as your ground flags is also a good idea.
Mulch is a mixture of organic residue. In mulch, you will most commonly find pieces of bark, dried grass and straw. Mulch is also a very difficult terrain to cross, and it is highly recommended for use over soil.
So, using mulch is great because it will help to keep your plants slug-free, and it will also help them to grow.
There are other things that deter slugs that rely on their other senses. The two listed above are just some examples of other types of terrain that can be used to deter them.
You can use smells and taste to also help repel slugs and they are talked about in some of our other articles.
Does Gravel Deter Other Pests?
Gravel has a lot of uses around the garden and its pest control is not limited to that of slugs. There are some other pests that have been known to be deterred due to the presence of gravel, a couple are listed below.
Snails are similar to slugs in many ways, so you may have already guessed that gravel could also be used to deter snails. Gravel works in the same way. Because of its difficult terrain, snails do not like to cross it because it can cause them discomfort.
Snails eat plants like slugs and can cause a lot of damage to your flowers. Placing gravel around flower beds should work a treat for preventing snails from getting to your plants.
Using gravel won’t actually keep mice out of your garden and away from your plants, but it has been known to help stop them from getting into your house. You can get certain types of gravel that are rather large, and this is what you should use to deter mice.
Placing these large pieces of gravel as a barrier around your home will work to prevent mice from getting underneath your home. If you have decking in your garden, then you should definitely place large gravel around the area as mice love to live under the decking.
It should be noted that gravel does not appear to deter rats as they are able to chew through or remove many types of gravel.
Does Gravel Attract any Unwanted Pests?
Despite the benefits that you can get from having gravel beds around your garden, there are a couple of drawbacks.
The main one is that gravel has been known to attract termites. This is because soil that rests underneath the gravel is kept moist and therefore is much more attractive to termites.
Despite all this, there has been one type of gravel recommended. Pea gravel is said to make for challenging terrain for termites as well as slugs. This means that by deterring slugs, you are also helping to prevent a termite infestation.
To summarise, here are a few key points from this article. Slugs are deterred by gravel because it is difficult terrain for them to cross. Placing gravel over the soil of flower beds will keep those plants free of slugs.
Other terrains that slugs hate include slate and mulch. Gravel also helps to deter other pests including snails and mice.
However, gravel has been known to attract termites due to the fact that it keeps the soil beneath it moist. Use pea gravel to make sure that you are not assisting any termites in infesting your home.
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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