Ayo, what’s good, it’s your boy Dan and today we’re talking about one of the biggest threats to your cannabis crop: slugs and snails. These slimy, sneaky critters can wreak havoc on your plants, tearing up leaves and even devouring entire seedlings. But don’t trip, I got you covered. I’m gonna drop some knowledge on how to defend your crop and prevent these pests from getting at your precious buds.
First off, let’s break it down. Slugs and snails may play a beneficial role in garden ecosystems, but when their populations rise, they become straight-up nuisances. They’re gastropods, which means they’ve got a big muscular foot that helps them move around. They don’t have legs, but they’re still pretty mobile – snails can travel up to 200m a day. And despite their lack of big mouths like other herbivores, they’ve got thousands of tiny teeth that they use to chomp on your weed leaves using a rasping motion.
Now you may be asking yourself: are slugs and snails the same? Nah, fam. While they’ve got some similarities, there are a few key differences. Snails roll with a coiled calcium carbonate shell on their backs for protection against predators while slugs don’t have an exterior shell. Snails also grow larger than slugs and can move a lil’ faster (around one millimeter per second). But both of these critters love to munch on vegetative tissue – including your cannabis leaves.
So how do you know if your crop is under attack? Look out for ragged holes on leaves or scalloped edges, as well as slime trails on leaves or nearby soil. And if you wake up to find that your precious seedlings have straight up disappeared overnight – congrats, you’ve been hit with a slug or snail attack.
But don’t worry, there are some strategies you can use to defend your crop. Let’s start with the most OG method – removing them manually. Slugs and snails ain’t fans of heat and light, so they usually come out at night or early in the morning. Grab a torch and go on a search-and-destroy mission, picking them up and moving them away from your plants. You can also find these sneaky critters under pots, bricks, or any other nearby sheltered locations.
Another method is to attract natural predators. Create an environment that’s attractive to toads, frogs, ground beetles, birds – even hedgehogs or slow worms – who love snacking on slugs and snails. You can dig a small pond for toads and frogs, apply mulch to your garden beds for ground beetles, put up bird feeders to attract aerial anti-slug division or cultivate dense undergrowth and different lengths of grass for hedgehogs.
If you don’t have time to manually remove them or attract natural predators, you can also use traps to catch and release them. Live traps are the most humane and don’t require you to use pesticides or poisons. Simply set up the trap and release the critters somewhere far away from your garden. If you’re feeling a lil’ more aggressive, you can use beer traps – insert a plastic cup into the soil near your plants half filled with beer. Slugs and snails can’t resist the aroma of that hoppy goodness and will fall in for good.
Or you can consider nematodes – microscopic worms that live in soil and can be used as biological control for slugs. There are nematode products available that involve simply watering them into the soil.
Now let’s talk prevention. Putting physical barriers in place, such as copper mesh or wire around the base of your cannabis plants, can repel slugs and snails, as they don’t like copper. You can also use eggshells or diatomaceous earth to create a barrier around your plants. These materials irritate their soft underbellies and force them to go find a snack elsewhere. And did you know that some plants make great “sacrificial plants” to divert slugs and snails from your precious buds? Planting basil, lettuce, spinach, and cabbage close to your cannabis plants can help keep these critters occupied and alert you to their presence before they attack your weed.
So there you have it – some tips and tricks on how to deal with slugs and snails on your cannabis plants. Now get out there and protect your crop like the weed warrior you are!