This dry weather has seen a slight let up in slug and snail activity, they are still around but not in the droves that seemed to favour the most precious plants during the washed out early summer.
Many people have been seeking our advice on how to deal with these molluscan marauders and we've been suggesting allsorts of things from going out with a torch every night to hand pick them to using nematode worms - a form of bio-control. What have you tried so far this year and what has worked best - and maybe more importantly, what has failed?
If you are still battling to keep your plants safe please please please try at all costs to avoid using toxic slug killers with methiocarb and metaldehyde as the active ingredients as these can pose a risk to wildlife, see the research from the Pesticides Action Network UK at www.pan-uk.org (although the website seems to be experiencing trouble at the time of writing).
Personally the beer trap and hand picking are my favoured options.
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I demand free slow worms/lizards/grass snakes on the NHS.Sorry- RHS.
Hand picking seems to be the only real option.Trying to get rid of slugs is like trying to get rid of moles by burying them alive!
I am lucky enough to have slowworms in my garden - but even they must be feeling bloated after the glut if slugs and snails. The beer traps worked a treat but also letting the edges of beds go wild helped protect the required plants to avoid the worst depredations
I think hedgehogs and song thrushes are potentially the best form of biological control for attacking slugs and snails in the garden although toads and frogs do their part as well. Making plenty of places for them to hibernate, nest and for hedgehogs ensuring they can get in and out of gardens easily.
Has anyone tried the nematode worm option?
Reluctant to - a large part of me thinks we should co-exist and sacrifice the odd plant to them. My wife, who mainly does the flowers, does not agree.
Sacrificial planting, it's a good technique. Planting a few more than you need, companion planting with less edible plants and allowing some around the edges to get taken can work.
I've tried putting copper pipes around the vulnerable plants, seems to work to some extent as long as you make sure there are no slugs or snails inside the exclusion zone, which isn't easy as some of them are hidden in the soil!
We are lucky, Harry hog is doing his/her best. Just wish it wouldn't leave the deposits on the patio slabs.
Take care all, Stich.
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As we are situated next to low lying grazing marsh we had a terrible year for slugs and during summer nights you could hardly see the lawn for them!
I'm proud to say that I don't use any chemicals in the garden and rely on nature to take care of them!
We have lost a few things and there are quite a lot of plants that we can't grow but I have to say that there are also an awful lot that I know we can grow and the slugs aren't very interested in!
Our regular visitors now include hedgehogs, Toads, Frogs, Song Thrush, Grass Snake (summer) and our neighbour has also seen slow worms in the hedge row between our gardens! I'm fairly sure that the plentiful supply of slugs keeps them coming back for more!?
As things stand I'll keep enjoying my small army of 'natural' helpers and choose plants that can withstand the slugs and snails. Plants that aren't tough enough need not join this army! (yet!)
I emptied out all my rainwater butts (5) a few weeks ago and they seemed superfluous to requirements in this current climate & were smelly & full of mozzies and found an army of slugs & snails hiding in and around. I swept all these into the open and, lo & behold, lots of empty snail shells littered my ground & not a slug in sight - I don't know who ate them, I don't seem to have hodgypigs or thrushes but do know of frogs & toads in the garden - maybe there are slow worms & grass snakes too though I've not seen any. Now there are far less hiding places for these beastly beasties but I expect they'll be back to eat my runners!!!
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