Cannabis Cultivation

Keeping Slugs, Snails off Cannabis plants

An illustration of a slug and snail being deterred by diatomaceous earth around a cannabis plant.

Has it just rained and your beautiful growing cannabis plants are now covered in slugs and snails? In this article I will explain what slugs and snail are, where they come from and how they get on to your cannabis plants. Slugs and Snails are one of the biggest outdoor threats to your fresh young cannabis plants. These sticky little things will leave slimy trails on your plants, munching down on the young leaves, and if not taken care of will kill your outdoor cannabis dead.

They may move super slow but they can chew a cannabis plant fast in a 24-hour window. With one slug or snail normally comes many, many more of these little vegetation predators. The wetter it is outside, the more of them will come to eat your cannabis leaves killing the plant at the worst, slowing growth to a crawl at best.

Slug On a Cannabis Plant
Slug On a Cannabis Plant

What are Slugs

A photo depicting a close-up view of cannabis leaves showcasing the damage caused by slugs and snails.

Slugs sometimes called Land Slugs is a shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusc with mean to have no shell. There are various species of Land Slugs that will have tentacles, a tail and a mantle. Slugs are made up of mostly water and must create a mucus (slim that you see on your cannabis plant leaves and stems) to survive. When it is sunny and warm slugs will hide in many places, one of them being under your outdoor cannabis pots. Most slugs are generalists and will feed on a broad spectrum of organic materials, like cannabis leaves, vegetables and herbs. They mostly come out to feed at night when it is cooler.

What are Snails

Snails are also molluscs, and are similar to slugs, the main difference is that snails have a soft shell that a slug will not have. Snails like Slugs can eat approximately 40% of their weight each day. That’s quite a bit of cannabis plants! Snails will live in much the same way as slugs do, and will also attach your young cannabis plants, mostly around the bottom of the plant that is easy to access. Both snails and slugs will multiply much more in moist or wet conditions.

Snail On a Cannabis Plant
Snail On a Cannabis Plant

How do I know if I have a Slug and Snail problem on Cannabis plants?

A watercolor painting capturing a gardener's evening routine of picking off slugs and snails from the cannabis plants under the moonlight.

Snails and Slugs have tiny mouths that will chew on your marijuana plants. Typically, you will see damage to your cannabis in the mornings. This is because they will come out in the evening and overnight. Normally you will see leaf damage that can be on the top or bottoms of the plants. Depending on how wet the environment is you can see much damage to the top growing shoot of the plants. Slug and Snail prefer the top growing tips as they are tender and easy to chew though. If the environment has been dryer they will stay around the bottom of the plants, damaging the bottom leaves. They will also chew the stems of the plants.

Once the snail or slug has left the cannabis plant, you will see a sticky, slimy substance located on the stems, and leaves of the plant. This is a tell-tale sign of slugs and snails.

An illustration presenting a before-and-after comparison: the left portion illustrates a cannabis plant marred by slug and snail damage, while the right portion reveals the plant's improved health after a week of meticulous hand-picking.

How to stop Slugs and Snail from getting to your cannabis plants?

The best way to keep slugs and snail off your cannabis plants is to stop them from getting to the plant in the first place. There are a few ways that you can accomplish this. Here are some ways to stop them from getting to your marijuana plants outdoors:

Slug Under a Cannabis Pot
Slug Under a Cannabis Pot

Diatomaceous Earth

A vector representation of different organic remedies to deter slugs and snails from cannabis plants.

You can use diatomaceous earth to stop snails and slugs in their tracks. Take a bit of diatomaceous earth and sprinkle a circle around the base of the plant. Make sure there are not gapes for the slugs to sneak though in your circle. Make the circle about 1 inch thick all the way around the base of the plant. Diatomaceous earth is like a human trying walk on glass. It is very sharp to slugs, and will cut them when they try to slither over it. For this reason, they will not try to get over it and to the base stems of your cannabis plants.

Hand Picking

A photo capturing the moment of a gardener gently hand-picking slugs and snails off cannabis plants, emphasizing the organic method of pest control.

If you see any slugs of snails around the base of your cannabis plants, you can pick them up and put them in a bucket. Catch them in the crime! Take them far away from your grow, or if you prefer you can kill them. If you only move them, away make sure you take the slugs a great distance as they can come back even at 20 feet away from your plants.

Bait the Snails and Slugs

A photo showcasing a collection of slugs and snails in a bucket, positioned next to a thriving cannabis plant, underlining the significance of consistent hand-picking.

Using a piece of melon or even grapefruit peels you can put them face down next to your plants. Make sure they are in a cool damp spot to bait them. After a day you can pick up the piece of melon and turn it over and it will be covered with slugs and snails, and the main thing is that they will be eating the melon and not your beautiful marijuana plants! Dispose of them however you wish.

Drown the Snails and Slugs

An illustration depicting a garden scene at night where slugs and snails are drawn towards bait stations.

Fill a shallow container with about a half inch of stale beer, you can use the top of an ice cream container. Place these containers of stale beer around your cannabis plants about every 2 to 3 feet. The slugs and snails will be drawn to the beer and will drown themselves in it.

Use a Copper Wire (Our Recommendation)

A photo showcasing a cannabis garden with protective barriers.

Have an old appliance sitting around in the house. Cut off the cord of the old electrical appliance. Then strip off plastic coating to the bare copper wire. Take this copper wire and make it into a circle around the base of your plant with the copper wire. Copper wire to slugs and snails is like getting an electric shock when they touch it. They will not cross over it, and the best part it is reusable for many years. Just untwist it and remove the wire at the end the season, and set it up next season.

Copper Slug Wire
Copper Slug Wire

Slug and Snail Bait

A photo capturing a close-up of popular slug and snail baits placed around young cannabis plants.

These are sold at most garden and hardware stores so they are easy to find and normally cost about $10 for a container of it. Slug baits are best used just before it is going to rain, as they will break down over time and will need to be re-added. You are best to use these baits by placing them around the base of the plant. The slugs will eat these instead of your cannabis plants, and the bait will kill the slugs.

Take Away any smooth surface

An illustration featuring a gardener equipped with a flashlight during nighttime, attentively hand-picking slugs and snails off a cannabis plant with a collection bucket placed nearby.

Snails and Slugs love to slither over anything that is smooth like your cannabis pots. They will slowly crawl up the pots and onto the marijuana plants. You can use a variety of different organic products take away any of these smooth surfaces. You could sprinkle a decent amount of sand, wood ashes or even ground up egg’s shells (our recommendation). The egg shell will also provide calcium as an added bonus.

Typical slugs and snail will not kill your plants; however, they can do a lot of damage and slow plant growth you can use these tips to keep slugs and snails off your outdoor cannabis plants.

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