Plastic Bottle Slug Protection
It’s surprising just how versatile an empty plastic bottle can be. I’ve already shown you how to turn one into an ingenious beer trap (or wasp trap) and here we’ll use one to create an effective slug barrier.
This time you need a clear plastic bottle to let in maximum light. Wash it thoroughly and remove the label. Now, with a pair of scissors or sharp knife, carefully remove the top and bottom sections. You now have a clear plastic cylinder that can simply be slipped over your chosen plant. Do be sure to check the plant is slug and snail free first. You don’t want to be trapping them inside!
Sink it about 8cm (3”) below ground level to:
- Keep it stable and prevent it from blowing away in the wind.
- Stop burrowing slugs such as the Garden Slug from tunnelling underneath.
To protect smaller plants from slug damage you could make two protective sleeves from a single bottle.
Before installing your barrier, check the soil inside for slug eggs. You don’t want them hatching and being trapped inside with a tasty meal!
Strengthen your defences
If you think the little beasties might be tempted to crawl up and over your defences, you can harden them further.
Smear a little petroleum jelly (Vaseline) around the edge. The slug will slide back down and give up.
Slugs seem to hate copper; it gives a tingling electric shock! Try wrapping some round your bottle; either the purpose made self-adhesive tape, or a few turns of copper wire from a length of electrical cable. Be sure to remove the insulation first!
A little petroleum jelly can be smeared around the edge of any pot or container to prevent slugs from reaching the plants inside.
Plastic bottle mini cloche
Another variation is to use the whole top section of the bottle. This creates a sort of mini ‘cloche’ to protect your young plants from the elements and from slugs, thus providing a little extra warmth and humidity at that all important spring growing time. Check it’s not getting too hot inside during sunnier days, and remove the cap if necessary. You don’t want to frazzle your plant!
The top half of a plastic bottle can be used in the greenhouse or on a windowsill to create a mini flower pot propagator for seedlings and cuttings. Use the cap to regulate the internal temperature and humidity.
What to do with those tops and bottoms
Having been busy making loads of anti-slug barriers for all your young plants, I guess you’re wondering what to do with all those bottle tops and bottoms. Well, the top section makes a handy funnel to use about the house and garden, while the bottoms can be used in the greenhouse as little dishes to stand potted plants in.
See... I told you those plastic bottles were versatile!
So now you can keep your plants safe from the ravages of slugs until they’re big enough to fend for themselves, while at the same time doing your bit for the environment with a little recycling.
The Little Book of Slugs
Want to learn more about the slugs in your garden?
Then I think you’ll like The Little Book of Slugs by Allan Shepherd & Suzanne Galant, with its mix of zany humour and sound practical advice.
- Know your enemy; even the slug has its Achilles Heel.
- Tired of fighting? Grow plants that slugs won’t eat.
- Over 70 ways to combat slugs without using chemical pellets.
What do you want to do now
The Little Book of Slugs
by Allan Shepherd
& Suzanne Galant
A hilarious account of how to garden without using slug pellets.
This little book succeeds in mixing good practical advice with zany humour.
Only 5% of the slug population is above ground at any one time. The other 95% is underground digesting your seedlings, laying eggs, and feeding on roots and seed sprouts