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Snails & slugs - general

Snail vs slug

There are two basic varieties of slimy nibbling creatures: the naked slug and the snail with its shell. These two categories can be further sub-divided, but to do so serves little use for what we’re interested in. For the purpose of this article we’ll refer to “slugs” to mean both varieties unless one species is meant in particular.

Slugs are useful creatures: they clean up fallen leaves and process them for re-cycling, making them an essential part of the process of soil humus formation. Sadly for the cannabis grower slugs are also the biggest enemy of the cannabis plant. Although both slugs and snails will enjoy decimating your plants, it is the naked slug that causes the biggest damage. Just to be on the safe side you can remove snails by hand.

Both move by making undulating muscular contractions band use a special sort of slime for moving vertically. By using this they can remain stuck and countering the effects of gravity for a long time.

Slug reproduction

Slug reproduction

Slugs reproduce themselves, of more accurately by themselves. After fertilization, snails lay their Slug eggseggs in a hole in the ground, under a stone, in a crack in the soil or a piece of wood, or in a compost heap.That’s why it is certainly good advice not to plant your weed too near a compost heap.

The eggs hatch after the winter, if they survive the frost, and will soon start looking for food. So make sure that your plants aren’t the first tasty snack they see.

Diagnosing slug damage

The most prominent of slug attack is the presence of slime trails. Furthermore you’ll see that whole sections of your leaf cover has been eaten, right down to jus above the ground. Non-eaten leaves are sometimes used as a ‘getaway’ route for the little buggers.

- Snail/slug trail?

Slug trail

YES!  slug.

A LITTLE BIT: Trips? NO. caterpillar or slime trail washed away.

Preventing and dealing with slug attacks

There are a number of different substances for use against slug attack.

  • Slug pelletsCoffee grounds:  sprinkle around your plants:  this muddies up their slime trail, thanks to which the slugs are reluctant to crawl over it 
  • Charcoal:  sprinkle around your plants: also interferes with the slime trail, and also messes with the moisture balance of the slug, thanks to which they can die on the charcoal
  • Slug pellets:  scatter around (choose the organic ones!)
  • Beer burial:  bury a beer glass in the ground with the lip protruding, with some beer inside. Change the beer each day.
  • Make a barrier out of copper: demarcate your garden with it, stick copper tape on your pots, making a copper circle around your plant pot.
  • Sprinkle salt on slugs:  not very animal-friendly, they gradually die from dehydration!

Suffered from slug attack?

You don’t need to do anything.  Just allow your plant to repair itself. You can apply the methods above, manually remove snails or, if the damage is too severe, try to take a cutting from your plant and clone it.

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