These pests attack in the night and will eat leaves and buds. A sure sign of snail or slug damage is a trail of slime on leaves or on the ground around your plant. The holes left behind can sometimes be confused with caterpillar damage, but one difference is snails or slugs leave “scalloped” edges, from these pests eating chunks out of your leaves one bite at a time.
Solution to Slugs & Snails
Although there is no foolproof method to erradicate slugs and snails, you can protect your plants and try to reduce their numbers a variety of ways.
Although not a cure for slugs/snails, it’s a good idea to allow toads, frogs, and beetles stay in your garden, as they eat slugs.
However, one of the best ways to deal with snails or slugs is to use barriers to physically prevent the pests from being able to get to your plant.
Place plastic bottle cloches around plants, or sprinkle circles of lime, eggshells, Diatomaceous Earth, used coffee grounds, or sawdust around plants.
Slugs are attracted to saucers, orange rinds, and plastic pots of milk or beer (they may drown themselves in beer).
How to Make Beer Trap for Slugs and Snails: mix flour with some stale beer and use it to fill a shallow container. Place in garden with the rim 1 or 2 cm above the ground so that slugs and snails can climb in. Substitute beer for wine, sugar water, juice, or water mixed with yeast.
BE WARNED, the trap will fill up quickly so come back often to empty.
To be sure you’re keeping your slimy slug population under control; collect them by hand at night or on damp days. Try collecting them under a tile or wet cardboard, and squash all eggs you find while digging. Placing a saucer of salt is another method that will kill snails and slugs.
Martha Stewart recommends coiling a piece of wire around the base of your plants to give slugs a shocking experience.