Slug Off!

I hate slug pellets, I would never use them, not even the organic kind, slug pellets are incredibly detrimental to wild life killing lovely hedgehogs (a natural predator of slugs and snails) in a horrid, drawn-out and painful way. If like me, you want to want to protect our wildlife and help preserve the natural balance of nature, there are many ways you can protect your precious plants from slugs and snails.

Slugs and snails are fleshy, succulent beings, they have a protective slimy layer which also enables them to move around, and they don’t want to cross anything that’s sharp or abrasive or will dry out this protective layer. So by using sharp sand, course grit, sawdust, ash, soot, crushed eggshells, and diatomaceous earth as barriers around your plants you’ll naturally be deterring slugs and snails. Human hair and horse hair are also excellent at keeping slugs and snails at bay, as is garlic granules or garlic wash – these two will need to be reapplied after any wet weather, pine needles and copper tape can also be used, there really are so may effective natural remedies you can use. You can also purchase nematodes – naturally occurring microscopic predators of slugs and snails used in a concentrated form, and very effective at controlling the types of slugs living in the soil, so they are very effective if Keeled slugs are eating your potatoes. Nematodes are very effective in wet weather when many remedies fail. Slug nematodes aren’t as successful in areas where manure is used as a fertiliser, so do bear that in mind.

Please do remember that all of these deterrents will need to be regularly reapplied and in the case of the copper rings and tape, regularly rubbed over with sandpaper to keep the surface fresh and free of oxidisation.

Here are some other natural predators of slugs and snails: frogs, slow worms, shrews, ground beetles, centipedes, Marsh flies, newts, ducks and chickens.  Garden birds, especially Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes and Redwings are natural predators of slugs and snails, eating them all year round, these birds have declined dramatically since the introduction and widespread use of slug pellets, hedgehogs have also declined significantly, let’s do more to help these wonderful creatures, by stopping using slug pellets and making our gardens more wildlife friendly!

Garlic Wash Recipe

To make garlic wash; take two bulbs of garlic and crush the cloves, place the crushed garlic in two pints of boiling water and boil for a few minutes.  Leave the mixture to cool, then strain it and bottle.  To use garlic wash: dilute one tablespoon of garlic wash to a gallon of water; apply by watering over your plant’s leaves on a dry day.  Garlic wash is very effective, but only in dry weather, once it rains you’ll need to reapply.  It’s important to use fresh garlic, older garlic will be far less effective.

This article was first published in the July 2014 edition of  Vantage Point Magazine.

Other articles that may interest you……..

To see the results of my Slug and Snail Trial and discover the most effective methods to protect your plants from slugs and snails, please click here.

To find out more about using nematodes as a biological control, a natural method or controlling slugs and snails, please click here.

For ideas and information on plants that slugs and snails will avoid eating, please click here.

For information on how you can help hedgehogs, please click here.

To see the top 20 shortlisted plants, including the finalists, and the winner of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year, please click here.

For information about container plants that will flower for a long time, and attract bees and butterflies to your garden, please click here.

To read about carnivorous plants, please click here.

For information about beautiful, important and historical gardens to visit in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex, please click here.

To read about terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.

To see the results of my Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.

To read about growing mushrooms indoors, please click here.

To read about the largest species of orchid in the world, which started flowering at The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, please click here.

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