A seedling or a young plant can be extremely vulnerable to pests like slugs and snails, and if they are constantly losing their new leaves due to the pests they will eventually die off. No matter if you are planting vegetables, shrubs, or flowers, if they are relatively young then you need to protect them. Slugs and snails love to eat young leaves, and even if you use pesticides some will still get to the young plants and eat their leaves.
Protecting seedlings and young plants is extremely important especially if they are stressed out. By placing a plastic bottle on the plants as a barrier you will stop all pests from eating these plants, and the plastic bottle will allow the plants to grow stronger. Once the plant is starting to outgrow the plastic bottle then it should be strong and healthy enough to not attract pests.
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You have to protect your plants until they are relatively established, once their leaves are large and strong the plant will not attract slugs anymore as most slugs will go for stressed-out plants. If you have planted a new plant in your garden and you have waited for weeks to see a new leaf which never happened then this is most likely due to the slugs eating the new leaves. There are a lot of slug repellents in the market but a determined slug will not be deterred by most of these repellants.
The best way of protecting young plants is with plastic bottles, as this creates an effective barrier between the plant and the slugs. Only a couple of weeks under a plastic bottle will allow the young plant to get more established, and full of leaves. If you want to know how to get rid of slugs and snails permanently then check out my recent article How To Get Rid Of Slugs And Snails ( Top 19 Methods ).
Plastic Bottle Barrier For Young Plants
Plastic bottles are an excellent barrier against slugs and snails, if done correctly no pest will be able to harm your plants. Ideally, you should use a plastic bottle barrier for seedlings, and young plants, no matter if they are vegetables, shrubs, or flowers. Transparent plastic bottles are an ideal barrier for the slugs as they will allow the light from the sun to get through the plastic bottle. You can also use white milk jugs but these will definitely block out some of the sun’s rays. If you want to know how to make a potent spray against slugs and snails then check out my recent article How To Make Caffeine Spray For Slugs ( Fast & Easy ).
When To Use The Plastic Bottle Barrier For Plants
Ideally, you should use the plastic bottle barrier as soon as you have planted the plants into the ground. Keep in mind that transplanting is extremely stressful for most plants, and the more stressed they are the more likely it is that they will start attracting slugs. Once the plant is starting to outgrow the plastic bottle, then you can remove the plastic bottle, in most cases, the plant should be strong enough and relatively stress-free so that it doesn’t attract slugs anymore.
How To Make A Plastic Bottle Barrier For Young Plants
Make sure to rinse the plastic bottle with cold water, especially if it is a plastic bottle that contained soda. Plastic bottles that contained soda and are not rinsed out will attract pests due to the sugar in the remaining soda droplets. Mesure your plant and cut the top section out of the soda bottle, make sure that the plant has enough space to grow. Make holes in the bottom section of the bottle, this is made for air circulation.
If you do not make enough holes in the bottle then air will not be able to circulate, and what will end up happening is that fungus will start growing sooner or later. When making holes in the plastic bottle, the smaller the holes are the better it is, just make more holes. If you create large holes then some slugs will be able to get to the plant, and that is the last thing you want. Place the plastic bottle with the top into the ground around your plant, and the bottom section should have the small holes for air circulation.
Make sure that there are no gaps between the soil and the plastic bottle, just rotate the bottle a couple of times into the soil and it should be fine. You can also use garlic spray as a slug repellent, for more information check out my recent article How To Make Garlic Spray ( Extremely Potent ).
When To Remove The Plastic Bottle Barrier
The main goal of using plastic bottles as a barrier against slugs and snails is to protect them while they are stressed out. Stressed-out plants will attract a lot of pests and this is a crucial time for them, as young plants do not have a lot of stored energy to continuously grow out new leaves. Once the plant is starting to outgrow the plastic bottle it is time to remove the barrier and keep a close eye on the plant for the next couple of days.
If you are noticing that a lot of condensation is building up in the plastic bottle, then either make more holes for air to circulate or removed the plastic barrier every morning for 20-30 minutes so the plant can dry off. Once you notice that leaves are getting stuck to the plastic bottle due to condensation then you either have to remove the plastic bottle for good or simply trim back the leaves.
As you can see you can and definitely should protect your young plants and seedlings with plastic bottles. You have to give these stressed-out plants a fighting chance, once they are larger they will be able to protect themselves from the pests but until then you have to give them some protection.