Our strawberry plants started to fruit last week but one morning I realised something was eating all the ripe strawberries. This continued for a couple of days and we lost quite a bit of fruit. Whatever it was timed its munching perfectly because it got the them just as they were ready for picking. At first I thought it might be squirrels but the nibbling was only happening at night so it could only be one thing…slugs. Monday night I went out on slug patrol with a torch and a trowel.
I was looking for slugs but it actually turned out to be snails. And so the [peaceful] plan of attack began…
Deterring slugs and snails from strawberries
I refuse to use slug and snails pellets because there are so many effective, chemical free ways of discouraging them:
Remove half eaten strawberries
Removing the half eaten fruits will mean there’s less of a sweet smell to attract more snails and slugs. Doing this will also help you see whether the pest situation is getting any worse as it will be easier to spot freshly eaten strawberries.
Hoist strawberries off the ground
Use a short piece of cane and garden twine to hoist the strawberries off the ground. Just a couple of inches or so will make them harder to nibble.
Go outside when it’s dark and pick off any slugs and snails you can find. Also look under the leaves and around nearby plants to find any that are hiding.
Clear away dead or yellowing leaves
If you have any dead or yellowing leaves at the base of your strawberry plant, get rid of them. The plant doesn’t need them anymore and they make good hiding places for unwanted pests.
Pet fur or human hair
Put pet fur or human hair near the fruits. They dislike this because they get tangled.
I know some people will probably be grossed out by the idea of putting hair on your flower beds, but remember, you won’t actually eat the hair!
Lay crushed egg shells on the soil around the strawberries because the sharp edges make the soil harder to cross. As the shells degrade, they will also put nutrients back into the soil.
Plant pot traps
Plant pots traps are really quick and easy. Put a plant pot upside down on the soil and prop one end up with a couple of stones. It makes a good hiding place for anything munching on your strawberries. In the morning, look under your pot and remove any slugs and snails by hand.
As we lost so many strawberries, I’m doing all of the above apart from the egg shells. I’ll save that one for round 2 if needed. Hopefully now I won’t find any more half eaten strawberries and Scott and I can enjoy a bowl each when they all ripen.