Strawberries are sweet, juicy, and delicious, so it’s no surprise that they are one of the most beloved crops to grow. Unfortunately, slugs are also drawn to strawberries and create holes through the fruit that attract additional insects.
How to Keep Slugs Away From Strawberries
You can prevent slugs from strawberries by removing the mulch and leaves around its bed, lesser watering, trapping them in a board or bowl, and distracting them with citrus peels. Physical barriers can also help. Other deterrents include petroleum jelly, eggshells, seaweed, birdhouses, and commercial slug killers.
Clearing Away Mulch and Debris
Slugs love to hide and without adequate hideaway spots within your crop, they are unlikely to stick around. Although mulching is recommended for other crops, the mulch offers an ideal place for slugs to hide.
You also need to remove any other type of debris that slugs can hide underneath, such as dead leaves.
Alternatively, you can use compost instead of traditional mulch, which will reduce the growth of weeds without providing a hiding place for slugs.
Autumn cleaning of your strawberry field will also prevent slugs from harboring in the crops throughout the winter months.
Reducing Watering of Strawberry Plants
While you still need to water your strawberry crop, reducing the frequency of watering and preventing the accumulation of water can drive slugs away.
Slugs prefer moist environments, and if the top layer of the soil is often dry, they go to seek out another environment.
Of course, your strawberries still need water to survive, but watering deeper into the soil can sustain your strawberry crop without attracting slugs.
Slug Removal with Traps
As for the slugs that are already targeting your strawberry crop, you can remove them by using a board to trap them. This isn’t a complete solution as the board simply provides a barrier.
You will still need to discard the slugs that have become trapped in the board daily. You can also trap slugs in a bowl of sugar water which the slugs will be drawn to.
Another trick to get rid of slugs is pouring a good old can of beer into a bowl.
The yeast inside the beer attracts slugs, and like the sugar water method, the slugs will be drawn to the beer and end up drowning inside the bowl.
Distracting Slugs with Citrus Peels
Strawberries aren’t the only fruit that attracts slugs. Slugs are also drawn towards citrus fruits.
If you scatter grapefruit or orange throughout your strawberry crop and around the bottom area of your plants, the slugs will be attracted to the citrus peels instead of the strawberries.
This provides you with another opportunity to remove the slugs from your crop.
Barricading Your Strawberry Crop
Although you can purchase copper barriers specifically designed to prevent slugs from attacking crops, you can also create a barrier by sprinkling wooden ashes around your strawberry plants, or you can put copper tape around the base of your plants.
Diatomaceous Earth, which is created using microorganisms, is another effective deterrent that inhibits slugs from going near strawberry crops.
Some gardeners use eggshells and nutshells to keep slugs at bay. Although slugs have the ability to crawl over sharp objects, they rarely do.
You can simply break up the shells and sprinkle them around your strawberry plants as a barrier. If your strawberry plants are potted, then applying petroleum jelly to the pots can make it difficult for the slugs to reach your plants.
Of course, you can also place a bird feeder in your garden as the birds will act as predators of the slugs.
Commercial Slug Killers
There are several products on the market that are effective at killing slugs. Namely, products that contain iron phosphate or ferric sodium are deadly for slugs and claim to be safe for use around children and pets.
These products work by preventing the slug from continuing to eat, which in turn causes the slug to die.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Prevent Slugs on Strawberries
Do Coffee Grounds Keep Slugs Away from Strawberries?
It has been confirmed by the USDA that coffee grounds can keep slugs away from your strawberries. Coffee grounds and solutions that contain caffeine do work as an effective deterrent that drives slugs away from strawberry crops.
Are Slugs Bad for Strawberry Plants?
Slugs eat the strawberry leaves and create holes within the fruit, and they are a common problem for farmers who are producing strawberry crops.
What is a Natural Slug Repellant?
Seaweed is a natural deterrent for slugs due to the high levels of sodium contained in it. Additionally, seaweed is a good form of compost to use on the soil. Certain plants such as wormwood and rosemary are also claimed to be excellent natural repellants that keep slugs away.
Slugs are a major problem for strawberry crops and gardens, but there are many ways that farmers and gardeners can combat these slimy pests.
From commercial products to DIY gardening tricks, you have plenty of options for eliminating slugs.
These tips can rid your strawberry plants of slugs so that you can enjoy your delicious, sweet-tasting batch of strawberries.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.