In this brief guide, we will answer the question “how to protect strawberries from slugs?”, discuss how slugs damage strawberries, and how to get rid of slugs.
How to protect strawberries from slugs?
If you are seeing small, deep holes in the strawberry fruits, usually under the cap, chances are there that you are dealing with slugs. To protect strawberries from slugs follow these simple five ways:
- Eliminate the hiding places from the nearby area of your strawberry plant by removing the leaves, mulch, and other plant debris.
- Water the area less frequently but deeply to avoid the constantly wet soil that encourages slugs.
- Use a board to trap slugs. At night, they will get trapped in the board, and do not forget to remove any trapped slug from the board every morning. If you are not removing them, they will be right back to eat your strawberries again the next night.
- Use citrus rind traps such as lemon, orange, or lime around the base of the strawberry plant. Slugs will be attracted to the citrus and then you will be able to dispose of them.
- Lay a dry barrier of diatomaceous earth (DE), a fine powder made of sharp particles of marine organisms. The material is irritant to the skin of the slugs and they will not be able to cross the barrier.
How slugs damage strawberries?
Slugs, a pest of ripe strawberry fruit, damages the fruit primarily by creating holes in the fruit. These wholes render the strawberry fruit inedible and below standard. In addition to this, they also encourage secondary pests (such as beetles, sowbugs, and bud weevils) to attack the strawberry fruit.
Slugs also feed on verdure and create ragged holes in the leaves of the strawberries. Small slugs rasp pits on the leaf’s surface.
How can you find slugs if they are present in your garden?
Slugs are very difficult to find due to their nocturnal behavior. To find if slugs are present in your garden, traps can help you. These traps can be anything under which slugs are expected to prefer harboring. They include:
- Boards placed in the field
- cups/ bowls of beer
- Yeast or sugar solution place in the soil
The slugs will get trapped in these traps and you can dispose of them the next morning.
How to get rid of slugs?
Slugs cause detrimental effects to the ripened strawberries and render them worthless. It is very disappointing for a person who plants strawberries with love and care but in the end, gets nothing. So here are some ways that you can opt to get rid of slugs:
Environmental management plays a crucial role in getting rid of slugs. First of all, remove all the hiding places of slugs by clearing and cleaning the area. Remove any kind of extra leaves, mulches, or organic matter that is present near the strawberry plant so that there is no place left for the slugs to hide.
The soil that remains wet constantly encourages the slugs to grow. So try to not keep the nearby soil wet all the time. For this, you can water less frequently. But keep in mind that when you water the soil, you water deeply so that the requirement of moisture content of the soil is fulfilled.
Exclusion is also an effective and commonly used way to get rid of slugs. For excluding slugs from the nearby area of the strawberry pant you can use:
- Diatomaceous earth
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth near the area of the strawberry plant in such a way that it creates a barrier. When the slugs will come near this barrier, their skin will face irritation and they will not be able to cross the barrier.
- Wood ash
Wood ash also acts as a repellant for the slugs. So you can also create a boundary near the strawberry plant by using wood ash to protect the plant from the slugs.
- Copper slug barriers
Copper slug barriers are commercially available to deal with the slugs. The copper from the copper slug barrier creates symptoms of the nervous system by reacting with the slime of the slug. This reaction inhibits the slugs to come near the strawberry plant making the plant safe from the slug damage.
Trapping can also help you in a good way to get rid of the slugs. But this method requires regular scrutiny, you have to dispose of the trapped slugs every morning to make sure that they do not damage your strawberries the next night. For trapping, you can use a bowl or cup fixed in the soil in such a way that its rim is at the level of the surface. Fill this bowl with anything that can attract the slugs such as beer, yeast/ sugar solution. The slugs will be attracted and then they will drown eventually in the bowl.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to protect strawberries from slugs?”, discussed how slugs damage strawberries, and how to get rid of slugs.