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When searching around the internet looking to see if slugs will eat celery in the garden you often come up with mixed results. Some say celery is resistant while other sources say that slugs do indeed eat celery. So which one is it? We dug into university research and papers to see what the real experts say. The conclusion? Yes slugs do eat celery, but they will eat more when the celery plant is younger vs mature celery plants.
Do Slugs Like Celery?
Slugs like to eat celery and are not repelled by it. This is contrary to what some other garden sites state.
If they did not eat celery, how can they be listed as a pest that causes significant losses to celery crops each year according to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture? That seems a bit exaggerated if slugs were harmless and repelled by celery.
Slugs are more attracted to young celery plants as opposed to mature celery plants. So you do have to take extra care when you have seedlings and young transplanted celery in your garden.
But you still need to be on your toes and trying to control the population even when your celery plants have all matured.
How To Keep Slugs
The best way to help reduce the chance of slugs eating your celery crop is to try to control the population in your garden.
You will not be able to get rid of all of the slugs. It is not a good idea to do that anyways because slugs do serve a purpose in the garden and are needed for a healthy garden ecosystem.
It is when their population is out of control that most of the damage happens to crops.
The younger your celery plant the more it is subject to becoming a slug meal. Start your seedlings indoors or in a greenhouse and then transfer them into the garden. This can help cut down on some of the damage that slugs can do to your plants.
Even with transplanting seedlings, you will still need to try to use other methods to control the slug population in your garden to help reduce the risk of losing all of your young plants to slugs.
Remove Things In The Garden That Slugs Like
Controlling the environment in your garden can help immensely with keeping slug numbers under control. Remove anything that will provide extra shady and damp areas for them to stay in. This can be things like large decorative rocs or plant pots that are sitting around.
Copper Tape or Copper Rings
Often touted as a great way to keep slugs off crops. Copper can work well, but it can be expensive if you are trying to protect many plants.
Slug beer traps and slug yeast traps are the go-to remedy for slugs by gardeners. You set them up in the evening by putting beer in a pie pan or other disposable container. Place the container into a divot in the soil so the lip is level with the dirt and the slugs will flock to it then fall in and natural selection takes care of the rest.
Diatomaceous earth can be used as a deterrent. Slugs don’t like to cross it because it is an irritant.
If you want to use this, use it in conjunction with other methods mentioned here.
Make sure that you replace the diatomaceous earth after it rains, as it will wash away every time.
It used to be slug bait was not an organic option for controlling slugs. But now there are organic slug bait pellets that are made out of iron phosphate and can be safe to use in small quantities around pets and wildlife.
Related Articles about Slugs and Their Appetite in the Garden:
- Celery-Slug; Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbooks; http://pnwhandbooks.stage.extension.oregonstate.edu/insect/vegetable/vegetable-pests/hosts-pests/celery-slug
- A Field Guide to the Slugs of Kentucky; University of Kentucky College of Agriculture; https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/files/efpdf4/sr103.pdf
- Slugs; The Royal Horticultural Society; https://www.rhs.org.uk/biodiversity/slugs