Figuring out how to get rid of slugs and snails that have made their way onto your cannabis plants can be a pain, but it really isn’t that hard to do. If you don’t act fast, however, these annoying pests may end up causing irreparable damage to your plants. These little critters are the reason growing cannabis outside can sometimes be an absolute disaster rather than the amazing experience that it’s supposed to be.
In order to avoid losing your plants when growing cannabis outdoors, we’re going to give you a few hints and tips on slugs and snails; the best preventive methods and the best ways to get rid of them permanently; everything you’ll need to know about these slimy little creatures.
How to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails | The Basics
What are they?
Before attempting to learn how to get rid of slugs and snails from your cannabis plants, you’ll need to know exactly what they are and how they function. Both are from the same family, known as Gastropods, and the main difference between the two is clearly the fact that snails have shells and slugs don’t. There’s also a difference between land snails and water snails.
Slugs can generally grow to anywhere between 1 and 15 centimeters, and land snails can grow to an incredible 1-30cm – although you don’t need to worry about these hefty monsters attacking your cannabis crop as these particular snails only grow in Africa, so they won’t be anywhere near your plants, thankfully.
When are they most active?
These animals tend to be most active at night, although some can be seen during the day time. They usually begin to hibernate during the fall and come back out after the first rain of spring, which is coincidentally usually when cannabis is planted outdoors.
What do they feed on?
There’s no need to worry about slugs or snails being actually dangerous, as they’re all herbivores. They’re even capable of digesting soil if they can’t find anything else to eat.
You will need to worry, however, about slugs and snails getting near your plants; if they come into contact with a cannabis plant they will most likely chow down on its leaves until it can’t eat anymore; cannabis leaves contain a lot of nutrients such as calcium, which is a major part of a snails diet due to the fact that their shell is made almost entirely of calcium.
What do slugs and snails do to your plants?
Slugs and snails can go from doing almost no damage to destroying entire plants, depending on the size of your plant and the amount of snails that get to it. They tend to cause massive holes in your plants’ leaves, so it’s pretty easy to notice when you have an infestation on your hands. They also tend to feed on new growth, which can be a bit harder to notice.
If just one snail makes your cannabis plant its home and has a lifespan of around 25-30 days, it’ll probably take a few bites out of it but it won’t kill it. However, a recently sprouted plant can easily be devastated by one snail due to the holes left in its leaves.
Larger plants hold up much better, however. If there are a few snails they’ll damage the plant a bit more and may leave trails of slime on it. However, if there are more than a few, you may be in a bit of trouble. Your plant may lose entire branches and in severe cases they may even eat the entire plant.
How to prevent slugs and snails
If you’re planning on growing cannabis outdoors you’ll need to take some preventive measures to keep slugs and snails away from your flowerpots. You may not get snails, but if you do at least you won’t come back to find your plants half-eaten. Let’s have a look at some of the most common methods of prevention when it comes to snails and slugs in your garden.
- Place jars, glasses or rags soaked in beer around your plants.
- Place copper wire on the ground around your plants.
- Make a salt circle around your plants.
- Avoid watering or spraying at night.
- Place bunches of other leaves near your plants so that they’ll go there instead of to your plants.
- Clean the area around your plants and make sure there are no fallen leaves.
- Make sure to check your flowerpot, substrate and surrounding areas every day.
- Plant repellent fennel or basil near your cannabis plants, as they naturally deter snails.
How to get rid of slugs and snails
If you’ve taken all the right steps to prevent slugs and snails and you still manage to find some on your plants, you’ll need to take more aggressive measures. There are still a few options left in order to fight snails off, and they’re usually super effective.
- Investigate your plants closely at night and in the morning, which is when you’ll find them – remove them manually. This is the simplest method.
- Use diatomaceous earth on your plants; sprinkle it around them.
- Use Ferramol Anti-gastropod, a highly effective product.
- You can also spray your plants with Bacillus Thuringiensis, although for this to work the snail or slug will need to ingest it – we recommend mixing it with a bit of brown sugar to make it more enticing.
- You can also use special traps designed for snails.
- Chickens and ducks love feasting on snails and slugs.
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Figuring out how to get rid of slugs and snails from your cannabis plants is simply a question of the gravity of the situation; it’s not that hard at all, and very rarely do such infestations progress enough to damage plants beyond repair.
Remember, the best way to keep your plants healthy is to check on them every single day, especially at night and in the morning which is when most infestations are visible, specifically slugs and snails.