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The raised bed is a good barrier against snails, but, depending on the type of construction, not completely safe from the voracious animals. With simple methods, the snails can be driven away in raised beds in the long term.

In a nutshell

  • Mechanical methods prevent slugs from entering the raised beds
  • Collecting is a sustainable method of getting rid of the pests
  • Soil and plants should be checked for snail infestation and eggs

contribution channels

Raised beds without barriers are generally not an obstacle for snails, even if they take longer to climb the beds. In addition to the fact that the snails can crawl up the beds, there are other ways of bringing them in:

  • purchased seedlings
  • compost soil
  • mulching material
  • inferior vegetable soil

Tip: Before you fill up with purchased soil or with compost, you should sterilize it. In small amounts, it is placed in the oven at at least 120°C for 30 minutes, which not only kills pests, but also pathogens and fungi.

snail edge

Mechanically, the snails that try to penetrate from the outside are easiest to keep away with a so-called snail edge. This is tinplate that has several bends that the snails cannot negotiate.
When buying it is important to make sure that the snail edge is really bent several times. A bent profile is not sufficient. At least two folds, which are always bent inwards, can no longer be overcome by the snails.
Advantages of a snail edge:

  • available in different lengths
  • can be trimmed if necessary
  • easy construction
  • reusable

Notice: When buying a new raised bed, you should make sure that it already has a snail edge that the animals cannot climb over. A simple edge made of wood is not sufficient and is easy for them to overcome.

sheep wool

Once the slugs are in the raised beds, it is important to protect the cultures directly. Sheep's wool has proven to be helpful here. It is important that this is raw wool that has not been waxed. This wool is often available cheaply from sheep owners, especially those who primarily focus on dairy and meat products. They still have to shear the sheep, otherwise the animals would overheat in summer, but they usually throw the wool away.
The raw wool is laid out thickly around the plants to be protected. The slugs as well as other snail species avoid the wool fat and the smell of the unwashed sheep's wool. A pleasant side effect of sheep's wool is that it can remain in the raised beds without any problems, because it is a slow-release fertiliser.
Sheep's wool contains the following nutrients:

  • nitrogen
  • phosphorus
  • potassium
  • sulfur

As a rule, it is sufficient if a thick ring of sheep's wool is laid out for each culture. Only in very rainy years, when the wool fat is washed out by the water or with frequent watering, does the protective ring made of wool have to be renewed or supplemented every two months.


The easiest way to biologically combat the snails in the raised bed is to collect them. Especially in the evening or after the rain, they venture out of their hiding places and are easy to find. It also helps to offer hiding places. The animals seek shelter underneath during the day and are easy to find.
Suitable hiding places are:

  • short wooden boards or slats
  • old clay roof tiles
  • upside down flower pots
  • old plates or cups

For many hobby gardeners, the question now arises of what to do with the collected slugs. One possibility is to release the animals in nature, like in a more distant meadow. Even if the slugs cause damage in the raised beds, they are an important source of food for other animals such as hedgehogs or frogs. In the raised bed, however, the way is blocked for these beneficial insects, which is why it makes sense to release the collected slugs elsewhere.
If you want to put an end to slugs in the fight against them, you should choose a method that kills the animals as quickly as possible. The nervous system of these mollusks works differently than in humans. Methods such as cutting them up or dousing them with hot water are not very painful for them and should therefore be avoided.

electric fence

One way to combat it is to install an electric fence. This is a metal band that is energized. The current can be very low, which means that a person or other animal does not perceive it or only perceives it as a tingling sensation.

The fence can be operated using a standard 12 volt battery. Depending on the size of the battery, it can last up to a week without being charged. The electric fence is again placed around the raised bed and is primarily intended to prevent the snails from getting into the raised beds at all.

beer traps

The classic beer trap is a control method that is also suitable for raised beds. Beer traps are easy to build, but the snails that land in the traps usually develop unpleasant odors.
When using beer traps, follow these steps:

  • Cut a 3 cm hole in the top third of a mug with a lid
  • Clean cut edges
  • Bury the cup in the raised bed up to the cut hole
  • Fill halfway with beer
  • close with lid

It is important that the opening for the slugs is large enough. In the raised beds, there is little risk that other animals, such as frogs, will accidentally get caught in the trap and drown in it. However, it cannot be ruled out that insects will also die in it.

food shortages for beneficial insects

Slugs are not so easy to drive away in raised beds. It would be biological if they were fought with beneficial insects. Due to the height, however, beneficial insects find it difficult to get to the beds.
However, raised beds can also become a trap for useful snail species such as the tiger slug or snails such as the Roman snail. Tiger slugs eat slugs and, like Roman snails, their eggs. In addition, they also feed on dead plant material, of which there is often not very much in the raised beds.
Due to the scarcity of food in raised beds, it can happen that such beneficial insects also eat the vegetables. When fighting, you should make sure that you release these beneficial insects in a suitable place. Roman snails in particular must not be killed, as they are even protected in some regions.

keep paths clear

One way to drive away the slugs so that they don't get into the beds in the first place is to maintain the paths in between. If you have a lawn, you should mow it at least every two weeks and also make sure that there are no tufts of grass left on the raised beds. If you want to repel the slugs, choose material for paths they don't like.
This includes:

  • sand
  • gravel
  • gravel

Dark gravel in particular heats up during the day, making it too warm for the snail. Indirectly, the heat encourages growth, but the high temperatures drive away the reptiles and they retreat to more sheltered areas.

promote beneficials

Fighting with beneficial insects would be biological, but this does not work so well in the raised beds. Indirectly, however, beneficial insects can help to generally reduce the amount of snails in the garden. There are fewer snails looking for their way into the raised beds, but fewer animals are brought in via the compost or mulch material.
Helpers in the fight against slugs are:

  • Hedgehog
  • frogs and toads
  • blind stalk
  • shrews
  • blackbirds
  • magpies
  • starlings

Few effective methods

There are many methods that are mechanical and should deter the critters from eating the culture in raised beds. This primarily includes copper. The slime of all snail species is said to produce a reaction on contact that will deliver an electric shock and drive them away. In practice, however, such copper strips have little effect.
Materials with a pointed or uncomfortable surface also have little or no effect.
Attempts to defend against slugs in raised beds are futile, for example with:

  • crushed eggshells
  • spruce needles
  • sawdust

The animals are reluctant to overcome these barriers as long as they are not wet. As soon as it has rained, these hurdles in the raised bed are usually no longer a problem for them.

frequently asked Questions

Are there ways to secure a beer trap mechanically?

No, a beer trap cannot be secured in such a way that it cannot also become a deadly trap for other animals such as insects.

Does a copper fence help if it is electrified?

Once a copper fence is electrified, it works like a normal electric fence and the slugs get a hit when they try to get over it.

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