Slugs may not seem like the most dangerous pest that can take up residence within your yard, but a large population of slugs can actually cause a great deal of damage to your plant life, eating their way through otherwise healthy plants in a short period of time. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to reduce and control the population of slugs within your garden and keep your plants safe. 

1. Selective Mulching

While mulch is an important landscaping tool that can help reduce weeds, control erosion, and hold onto moisture, it can actually attract slugs to your garden. This is because slugs require a certain amount of moisture to survive, and mulch also represents a potential food source to a slug population. If you're suffering from a slug problem, you may want to consider removing your mulch in the short term until the population has been removed or is back under control again.

2. Gravel and Other Barriers

Another good way to protect particularly vulnerable or fragile plants within your yard is to install strips of material around their edges that are not conducive to the movement of slugs. Gravel, diatomaceous earth, lime, and sawdust all act as dry, moisture sucking materials that are difficult and painful for slugs to climb over, and thus will act as an effective barrier or fence around your plants. 

3. Nematodes

You can also apply nematodes, which are microscopic parasites that will prey on slugs. They are relatively inexpensive and are applied by spraying a water with the parasites mixed in across the soil in your garden. They will infest and kill slugs that come into contact with them, but won't cause damage to the plants in your yard. This treatment tends to be extremely effective, as slugs will pass the nematodes on to each other when they come into contact with one another.

4. Hand Removal

Finally, another way that you can severely reduce the population of slugs in your garden is by picking them up by hand. While relatively labor-intensive, it is undeniably effective and with only a few treatments will greatly reduce the number of slugs that have taken up residence in your yard. You can remove slugs and place them in soapy water to kill them, or you can otherwise transport them to another area of your garden where they don't pose a threat if you are looking for a non-lethal option.

For more information, contact your local pest control service.