If there ever was a mortal enemy of the backyard gardener, it would be the slug. This slimy garden pest can devour plants in just one evening. Preferring moist conditions, slugs hide during the brightness of the day and come out during the night and during rainy conditions. Fighting slugs is a never-ending war, but several techniques can help you win the battle each growing season.
Sprinkle a commercial slug bait around your garden, concentrating near hostas and other broadleaf plants, as instructed. Some brands are harmful to other animals and some brands rely on iron phosphate, a natural chemical found in fertilizer that is not hazardous. Slug bait usually consists of small pellets that will draw slugs away from your plants. Once eaten, they will kill the slug. Unused pellets will break down and do no damage to your garden. Baits are usually the most effective method of controlling slugs but they can be used as just one part of your regiment.
Purchase copper bands and copper tape from your local garden center to place around young plants or use on garden borders as a barrier. Slugs are repelled because copper combined with a chemical in the slug's slime creates an electric shock.
Keep debris cleaned up in your garden. Slugs need places to hide from the hot sun, decayed matter in which to lay eggs and plant matter to eat. The best time to clean up is after dusk or early in the morning. Look for slime trails or hiding slugs, which will indicate debris that is attracting these pests.