Tag Archive for: slugs and snails

Slug damage

Garden Pests!

Our gardens form part of an ecosystem and a multitude of creatures interact within them. Many are beneficial pollinators including bees and butterflies and lots of the perennials in your GardeningBox will provide valuable nectar for them. Slugs and snails play an important role in breaking down old and rotting vegetation but if they take a fancy to your garden plants how should you tackle them?

The drawback of many pesticides found in traditional slug pellets is that they can be highly toxic to other animals, including pets or species that prey on slugs, such as hedgehogs. The most dangerous metaldehyde was banned but the decision was subsequently reversed. Because of its effects on wildlife, our advice is never to use this chemical in your gardens.

Happily there are wildlife friendly options which we can use and are just as effective!

First of all, know your plants – the majority of perennials with tough woody growth such as peonies, anemones, and achillea, or shrubs such as prunus and philadelphus, are not attractive to slugs and snails and will rarely need protecting.

More delicate perennials such as hostas, echinacea, and helenium seem to be a favourite meal so we should protect them if possible.

 

The first option is copper tape or collars which can be placed over the crown of growing plants or a couple of inches below the rim of containers, and deters the advances of slugs and snails. Look out for these products in garden centres or online.

Coffee grounds and sheep’s wool products might also have some value in deterring these creatures.

 

If you are really suffering an invasion, a safe method of reducing populations is the use of a biological product (nemaslug®) which exposes slugs to a type of microscopic worm which parasitises and kills them. Because the worms are selective there is no danger to other animals.

 

Finally, beer traps or ‘slug pubs’ can be used to attract slugs and snails into a jar filled with beer, in which they take their last drink.

 

As a last resort, organically approved ferric phosphate containing pellets can be used to protect particularly susceptible plants and will kill slugs without posing a risk to birds and mammals.

 

In most cases a combination of different approaches will be required but in most cases it is quite possible to prevent slug damage without needing to resort to chemical agents.

 

Have you got any more tips for dealing with slugs and snails? Post in the comments below or let us know on Facebook.

 

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