Do Slugs Eat Grass? | 7 Natural Ways to Protect Your Lawn

If you’re planting a new lawn and you’re wondering if slugs might eat the grass, the answer is “No,” they usually do not.

Slugs do not eat large amounts of fresh growing grass. Slugs can eat grass seeds before they germinate and the seedlings that appear after they germinate. Slugs prefer rotting organic matter so they will eat old, dead grass pieces in your lawn.

How to Know If Slugs Have Been Eating Your Grass

While it is rare for slugs to eat full-grown grass, it does happen. Most of the time, slugs aren’t interested once the grass is fully grown. Still, if you’re wondering if there are slugs in your lawn, look for the following signs:

  1. Leaves with ragged holes
  2. Silver slime on chewed leaves
  3. Damage to plants during the night
  4. Leaves with a scallop-like bite pattern
  5. Slime on nearby wood, pavement, and rocks

If you aren’t sure if slugs are the culprit, consider this: slugs usually come out at night to eat seedlings and grass, and they aren’t exactly shy.

Check your lawn closely to check for chew marks from slugs.

Go out there after dark one night with a flashlight and search your grass. If they’re there eating, they won’t stop just because a flashlight is being shined on them.

Will Slugs Eat Grass?

While it is far more common for slugs to eat seeds and seedlings than actual grass, they are still known for eating blades of grass at certain times.

It is very common for slugs to eat grass right after it rains and during the early spring months or young grass leaves. They have been known to eat grass all year long if they’re so inclined, so you can never assume that they are not out there munching on your grass blades.

A healthy lawn will be more resistant to slug attack. Dethatch and top dress your lawn in spring to keep it healthy and to feed it for the warmer months.

Are Slugs Bad for Your Grass?

Slugs are bad for grass because they can eat the young leaves. They prefer seedlings or new shoots or grass that has started to rot and break down.

Another problem you might have is that when they come after your grass, they usually go after other nearby plants as well. If you have a garden, they may attack that as well as your grass. But yes, slugs are bad for the grass because they will continue to eat until there is very little left.

We have a small lawn so we only need 1-2 bags of top dressing to keep the lawn healthy and slug free.

Damage to Grass caused by Slugs

Slugs prefer seeds and seedlings, or new grass shoots, to the actual grass blades themselves. But they do eat the blades at times, and they tend to munch on all three of these things until there’s nothing left.

If you see holes in the blades that were left there overnight or a slimy substance on any part of your grass, it is very likely slugs. And if they’re not taken care of quickly enough, they can destroy everything in your yard.

How to Control Slugs in Your Grass

There are numerous ways to control slugs in your grass or your garden. Keep in mind that slugs love moisture, which is why they tend to come out in droves when there’s been a heavy rain.

If you notice half-eaten leaves or blades of grass or even tiny white eggs, it’s time to do something about the slugs in your yard. Keep reading if you’d like to learn more details.

Check the lawn closely to see if there are any slugs early in the morning still in your lawn.

Seven Ways to Stop Slugs from Eating Your Lawn

Fortunately, there are several ways to keep slugs from eating the grass in your yard that don’t require heavy chemicals. Below are some of them.

1. Make Sure Your Lawn is Clean and Dry

Slugs love moisture, so the drier your lawn is, the more likely they’ll stay away. Avoid harsh chemicals in some repellents and other products because they usually kill off natural predators of slugs, including insects and even toads and hedgehogs.

2. Always Water the Lawn in the Morning

Remember that slugs love to come out at night, so if you water the lawn in the morning, it should be dry by nightfall. The lawn should be fairly or even completely dry by the time the slugs come out to dine.

3. Plant Sacrificial and Repellent Plants in Your Yard?

If you have certain plants in your yard, the slugs will move towards these rather than the grass blades or seedlings. You can also plant things they detest so they avoid your lawn altogether, especially if you plant them around the border of your lawn.

Try certain strong-smelling herbs such as tarragon, mint, rosemary, and valerian. You should also consider plants such as berries, trees and shrubs, and rockets.

4. Consider Installing Some Type of Barrier

Certain barriers around the lawn can keep slugs away. These include metal slug fences, Victorian bells, plant covers, and even a special copper foil tape that is designed to give the slugs a tiny shock when they get near it.

There are a few others as well, which you can find out about by consulting with a local plant expert or gardening specialist.

5. Use Sheep Wool Pellets

Sheep wool pellets consist of waste wool, dust, sand, and salt. They are very effective at deterring slugs, especially if you compare them to other methods, such as coffee grounds.

The way the pellets work is simple—the moisture makes them swell up, then dry again, and they do a great job of repelling all except the most determined and stubborn of slugs.

6. Choose a Natural Slug Repellent

Natural slug repellents include a mixture of water and either cold coffee or garlic water. Use your hose and a nozzle to spray the entire lawn, and slugs will stay away. Why? Because they hate the smell. This method works almost every time.

7. Lure the Slugs Away

If you put a large bunch of lettuce somewhere on the edge of your lawn, the slugs will automatically move towards it and stay there.

You can also put a wooden plank there instead, and the slugs will naturally go underneath it. Later on, you can scoop up the slugs and take them to the woods or even destroy them.

Check out this quick video that shows an easy way to make a slug trap.


While slugs prefer seeds and seedlings to full-grown grass blades, they will eat your grass in certain situations. Fortunately, there are very simple ways to deter and get rid of the slugs once they get there, and you can do most of these things without harmful chemicals.