If you have been seeing some damage to your strawberry plants and the fruit itself then you know that something has been snacking on your strawberry plants. Many critters and bugs love strawberry plants, but if you’re seeing empty holes show up in the strawberry fruit and holes in the plant leaves after it was fine the evening before then more than likely you have a slug problem.
Do Slugs Eat Strawberry Plants and Strawberries?
Slugs love to eat strawberry plants and the strawberries that they produce. The most common sign that it is slugs eating your strawberries is when you find holes missing out of the strawberries and holes in the leaves. You will also probably notice a slime trail that the slugs leave behind as they travel along the ground.
Slugs come out at night to feed and they aren’t too picky about what they eat, but they do have some preferences when certain vegetation is available. Crops such as marigolds, strawberries, and basil are some of the plants that slugs will go for first over other crops like mint, which slugs only prefer when the plant is young.
How To Keep Slugs Off Of Strawberry Plants Organically
There are a number of ways to help stop slugs from eating your strawberry plants and pretty much all of them are organic.
The thing to remember when trying to stop slugs from eating your strawberry plants is that you won’t be able to stop them 100% of the time. Slugs are abundant in any garden, they even have a purpose in the garden ecosystem, and there are always some that will get through your defenses. But you can do some things to lessen the damage that they can cause to your plants.
Remove Things That Slugs Like
Controlling the environment around your strawberry plants is important in order to help control the slug population. Slugs like to stay in the shaded damp area of gardens. Things such as mulch, rocks, or decorations that give them ample shade and provide dampness will be places where slugs will live and lay their eggs in.
Remove these factors from the area where your strawberry plants are so you aren’t giving them a place they would like to hang their hats and move in.
Copper Tape or Rings
This is really only a feasible option if you don’t have too many plants. In order for copper rings and copper tape to work you need to place it around each plant. If you have 20 strawberry plants you aren’t going to want to be footing the bill for copper rings or trying to carefully get copper tape around each plant stalk. Not to mention many strawberry plants crawl along the ground so this will only work up to a certain point for strawberries.
Slug traps are a popular choice among gardeners when trying to keep slugs away from their strawberry plants.
There are several options for slug traps, beer traps are the most commonly known one. There are also yeast slug traps or oil slug traps.
Traps work rather well, but like everything else you aren’t going to get all of the slugs in your traps.
Diatomaceous earth is more of a deterrent than a way to necessarily get rid of slugs. They don’t like to crawl over it so they might go elsewhere for their meal if you put this around your plants.
Diatomaceous earth is best used alongside some of the other options listed here when trying to keep the slugs off your strawberries.
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.
Slugs will eat strawberry plants and the strawberry fruit itself. Using multiple ways to control slug population and deter slugs from wanting to be around your strawberry plants is the best way to help keep slugs off your strawberries.
- Slugs in Strawberries. NC State Extension. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/slugs-in-strawberries
- Lee, Jackie. Slugs and Snails and Strawberry Tales. University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. https://www.uaex.uada.edu/farm-ranch/crops-commercial-horticulture/horticulture/ar-fruit-veg-nut-update-blog/posts/strawberryslugs2019.aspx
- Slugs on Strawberries. 2016. Penn State University Extension. https://extension.psu.edu/slugs-on-strawberries