How to Get Rid Of Slugs (Fall Clean-Up)

As the fall season approaches, you might notice an unwelcome invasion of slugs in your garden. These slimy creatures are not only unsightly but can also cause damage to your plants and crops. You don’t have to worry, though.

There are some simple and practical steps you can take to keep your garden slug-free during this time of year.

Slugs thrive in damp, cool environments, making the fall season a perfect time for them to multiply and take over your green space. To ensure your garden remains healthy and free of these pests, it is important to take action as soon as you start noticing their presence.

This article will provide you with valuable tips on how to get rid of slugs and prevent them from coming back.

Being proactive and addressing the slug problem early on will save you time and effort in the long run.

By following the advice in this article, you can look forward to a beautiful, slug-free garden throughout the fall season – and beyond.

Fall Slug Behavior

During the fall, you may notice an increase in slug activity in your garden. As the temperatures cool and moisture increases, slugs find this time of year to be quite comfortable. They tend to become more active at night, seeking out plants to feed on, while hiding during daytime hours.

To reduce slug populations in your garden, try utilizing a combination of natural methods and targeted treatments:

  • Debris Removal: Clear your garden of fallen leaves, decaying vegetation, and other debris that can create the perfect hiding spots for slugs.
  • Barriers: Create physical barriers around garden beds or prized plants, using materials like crushed eggshells, copper tape, or diatomaceous earth. These substances are unpleasant for slugs to crawl over.
  • Traps: Set up beer traps around the garden. Slugs are attracted to the scent of fermenting yeast. Bury a shallow container (like a plastic cup) in the ground up to its rim, and fill it with beer. Slugs will be lured in and become trapped inside.
  • Biological Control: Introduce natural predators, such as hedgehogs, birds, and frogs, into your garden. Establishing bird feeders or planting shrubs that provide shelter can help to attract slug-eating birds. Adding a small pond or water feature can create an inviting habitat for frogs and toads.
  • Nematodes: These microscopic, slug-eating roundworms can help keep your slug population in check. Mix nematodes with water and apply them to your garden soil. As they feed on slugs, nematodes multiply, providing ongoing natural control.

Using these methods, you can effectively manage slug populations in your garden during the fall, protecting your plants and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Immediate Action Steps

Garden Clean-Up

To get rid of slugs in the fall, start by giving your garden a thorough clean-up. Remove all fallen leaves, debris, and any hiding spots that may provide a safe haven for slugs. Dispose of these materials, and ensure your garden is cleared and tidy to discourage the slugs from settling in.

Slug Barriers

Creating physical barriers is an effective way to keep slugs away from your plants. Some options include:

  • Copper tape: Place copper tape around the base of your pots or raised beds as slugs cannot tolerate the natural electrical charge in copper.
  • Crushed eggshells: Scatter crushed eggshells around your plants to form a barrier that’s uncomfortable for slugs to crawl over.
  • Diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth near your plants to deter slugs with its sharp texture.

Remember to replace or refresh these barriers after rainfall to maintain their effectiveness.

Hand Picking

One of the simplest ways to control slugs is to handpick them from your garden. Get a flashlight and go out at night when slugs are most active. Wear gloves and carry a container filled with soapy water to dispose of the slugs you collect. Inspect the areas where you have seen their slime trails or damage, and repeat this process every few nights until you notice a reduction in slug numbers.

Baiting Technique

Using baits is another option to control slugs in your garden. Set up a simple bait station with beer or a commercial slug bait in a shallow container. Place the container at ground level, and slugs will be attracted by the scent, crawl into the container, and drown. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep bait stations away from pets and wildlife. Remember to check and refill the stations frequently for optimal results.

Natural Predators


Many birds, like robins and thrushes, can be great allies in your battle against slugs. These feathered friends enjoy feasting on slugs, keeping the slimy critters in check. To attract more birds to your garden, consider installing bird feeders, baths, and nesting boxes. Additionally, planting native shrubs and trees can provide a natural habitat for your avian allies.

Frogs and Toads

Frogs and toads are voracious eaters of slugs and can consume significant numbers every night. To encourage these amphibians to visit your garden, provide sheltered hiding spots like stacked logs, rock piles, or even a small pond. Remember to use plants and rocks to create shady areas around the pond, making it a more inviting space for the frogs and toads to relax during the day.

Ground Beetles

Ground beetles are another natural predator of slugs. These beneficial insects are nocturnal hunters, attacking slugs at the most opportune time – nighttime. To invite ground beetles into your garden, create suitable habitats for them. Some suggestions include:

  • Leave leaf litter: Leaf litter offers ground beetles a place to hide and lay their eggs.
  • Avoid using pesticides: Chemical pesticides can kill beneficial insects like ground beetles, so opt for natural alternatives.
  • Provide hiding spots: Create spaces for ground beetles using flat stones, logs, or low-growing plants.

By encouraging these natural predators to take up residence in your garden this fall, you can effectively reduce the slug population without resorting to chemicals or other harmful methods. So, follow these tips and enjoy a slug-free garden!

Plant Choices

Slug-Resistant Plants

When it comes to dealing with slugs, your first line of defense is choosing the right plants. Opt for slug-resistant plants that can withstand slug damage and keep your garden looking beautiful. Some examples of slug-resistant plants include:

  • Ferns: Most ferns are unappetizing to slugs due to their tough leaves.
  • Geraniums: These flowers are considered unappealing to slugs because of their strong scent.
  • Lavender: With its pleasant aroma, lavender deters slugs and makes a lovely addition to any garden.
  • Hydrangeas: These flowering shrubs can tolerate some slug damage without losing their overall appearance.
Plant NameTypeSlug Resistance

Slug-Favourite Plants

At the same time, it’s essential to avoid plants that slugs find irresistible. These plants are more prone to slug infestation and damage. Some examples of slug-favourite plants include:

  • Hostas: Slugs love the tender leaves of hostas, making them a common target.
  • Delphinium: These beautiful plants often attract slugs, causing considerable damage.
  • Lettuce: Slugs are very partial to lettuce leaves, which can be quickly decimated by a hungry slug.
Plant NameTypeSlug Attraction

In summary, choosing slug-resistant plants and avoiding slug-favourite plants will help you keep your garden slug-free in the fall.

Chemical Control

In order to get rid of slugs in the fall, you can consider using chemical control methods. Always remember to read and follow label directions carefully to ensure proper and safe usage.

Slug Baits: You can use slug baits that contain ingredients like metaldehyde or iron phosphate. Scatter these baits evenly around your garden, making sure to target areas where slugs are known to thrive, such as near moisture-rich plants or in shady spots. Keep in mind that metaldehyde can be harmful to pets, so be cautious if you have furry friends around.

Diatomaceous Earth: Another option is to apply food-grade diatomaceous earth around the base of your plants. This natural, non-toxic powder deters slugs by causing them physical discomfort. Reapply after rain or heavy dew as the effectiveness of diatomaceous earth lessens when wet.

Nematodes: You can also use biological control methods, such as introducing slug-killing nematodes to the soil. These microscopic worms feed on slugs from within, reducing their numbers over time. Apply the nematodes during the fall when soil temperatures are ideal for their survival.

Remember to consider the potential effects of these chemical control methods on other wildlife and plants surrounding your garden. By combining chemical control with other slug management strategies, you can effectively reduce slug populations and protect your garden throughout the fall season.

Wrap up

Taking care of your garden in the fall can feel like a never-ending battle, especially when dealing with slugs. But fear not, with the right strategies, you can keep these slimy creatures at bay.

Firstly, ensure that you clean up and remove any debris from your garden. This includes fallen leaves, dead plants, and weeds, which can serve as hiding spots for slugs. By eliminating their habitat, you’ll discourage them from taking up residence in your garden.

Use barriers and deterrents such as crushed eggshells, copper tape, or diatomaceous earth to create a physical barrier that slugs find difficult to cross. These materials can be scattered around the base of your plants, and the sharp edges will deter the slugs from moving towards your vegetation.

Natural remedies like coffee grounds and beer traps can also be effective in managing the slug population. Sprinkle used coffee grounds around your plants or set up small containers filled with beer to attract and drown the slugs.

Lastly, introduce natural predators, such as birds, toads, and hedgehogs, to your garden. These animals will help keep the slug population in check, providing a natural and eco-friendly solution for controlling slugs.

By implementing these strategies, you can help protect your garden from slugs during the fall season, ensuring a healthy environment for your plants to thrive. Remember to stay vigilant and consistently monitor your garden for any signs of slug activity.