The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › wood chips and slugs/snails

wood chips and slugs/snails

deb k.
user 8829588
Portland, ME
Post #: 22
Did my first sheet mulched garden last year with great success, no watering or weeding to speak of... fantastic cause I'm definitely a low-maintenance gardener. However, I have always had slug and snail issues in this garden and last year was especially intense, due to the wood chip mulching I've been told. I did buy Sluggo, but this gets expensive, falls through the chips, and also wondered if this has any adverse effects on the soil/plants despite being "organic"? I have some leftover stone dust and seaweed from my layering, thought to top with these, though the dust will probably just fall through the chips as well. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly. appreciated.
Barbara R.
123bubbles
Oakland, ME
Post #: 74
I keep my eggshells through the winter and then crush them and put a circle /ring of eggshells around each plant that the slugs like as I transplant them into the garden. I repeat this as necessary throughout the season. I may see slugs in garden but they are not usually enough to do major damage. I hand pick if necessary when I have been late on the replacement of more eggshells. Something in the eggshell causes them to dry up.
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 1,024
Little barriers of lime help. They don't like diatomaceous earth or sand either.

David
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,387
The first year I did alot of sheet mulching (i.e. I was the intervenor, changing the backyard ecosystem pretty dramatically all at once), I had a slug and snail incursion. I used a variety of controls ranging from copper tape around some tender baby plants, diatomaceous earth once in a while, egg shells, seaweed as a top dressing, walking around with scissors at dawn and dusk, etc. They all helped and I think there is probably no single thing that does it all.

However, the big shift was that I needed to think like an ecosystem: when there is a population bloom in one type of species, that is usually a boon as a food source for someone else. So I started thinking about who eats slugs and snails and tried to encourage them to show up (toads, garden snakes, etc.) As I created small habitat amenities for those slug eaters, things got back into balance from the inbalance that I had created. It worked really well. Of course we did eventually get ducks and they do a morning patrol to keep things under control, but that is a really just a bonus.
deb k.
user 8829588
Portland, ME
Post #: 23
Thanks everyone! Lisa, what should I put out for toad/snake lodging?
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 1,025
I have lots of toads and esp. red belly snakes. I don't think they can consume as many slugs as there often are. I use scissors like Lisa. They follow each other's slime trails and will eat the ones you scissored. I'm thinking that small islands of chips or small amounts may be worse than really large expanses like I have. Also, I wonder if populations wax and wane for other reasons. I have had them here in numbers to make you crazy. For reasons I can't identify the last 2-3 years haven't been bad at all. I think if you have enough chips and they are thick enough, a slug making it's way across them may be like crossing a desert.

David
Jim M
user 8311780
Auburn, ME
Post #: 109
Here is a link to a site dedicated to Slugs and Snails in the garden, including a page on predators. http://haywardm.supan...­
My practice of composting on site probably compounds the problem.
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 1,026
I have 5 truckloads of chips in my front yard and very few slugs so far. Least I have seen.
Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,391
I think you're right David...the wood chips don't seem to be a precipitating factor for a big slug outbreak. Other kinds of mulches around tender greenery (slug food) seems to be more the issue. Of course rainy spells, proximity to slug/snail breeding areas (woods edges next to veg gardens) also correlate. Some people run their ducks in a "moat" shaped pen around the perimeter of a property as well as the occasional patrol in the garden. Really effective if you're under alot of pressure. A small water feature, rocks, upturned terra cotta pots, and other "habitat" for toads and snakes seem like good steps. Basically, you want to go for a broad ranging and diverse ecosystem that can help balance out imbalances from whatever origin they come.
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