TM Garden Design




These little devils are everywhere, chomping their way through all our prized plants, not only on fresh new growth as plants emerge, usually in the spring, and this year due to the mild winter –  there was not cold spell to help kill off at lease some of the over wintering slugs and snails and their eggs – result a population explosion as even more of them survived.

The warm summer with regular downpours has also helped to create ideal slug & snail conditions, moist and warm, so again more survive and now we gardeners are faced with an army of slugs & snail who are now munching their way through our prized plants and flowers, ruining the summer show, just when it  should be at their best!
So what to do, is all lost and must we surrender our gardens to these slimy pests this year?
Know your enemy – see here for the huge range of slugs and here for snails to be found attacking our precious plants.
A FEW IDEAS ON HOW TO WIN THE WAR ….  some more gruesome than others, so try the ones best suited to you:

  • PICK AND DISPOSE – Early evening or just after a rain shower, go armed with a pot and simply pick off the little (and not so little) blighters – some of those slugs are enormous. I’ve collected a whole 2 L pot of the things. Then dispose on waste ground. if you are a bit squeamish (yes that’s me!!), or go for the kill squishing them or pouring salt onto them or putting into salt water.
  • COPPER- Slugs and Snails do not like crossing copper, their slime causes a small electric shock as it crosses the copper, copper bands are available to put around the rims of containers, they are readily available either in good garden centres or on-line
  • BEER TRAP – sink a smooth sided container partially onto the ground, fill it about three quarters with beer, any type will do as they are not particularly fussy. Slugs and snails are drawn to the smell, crawl in enjoy a sip, can’t crawl out and death by beer. You can then throw them out for the birds to enjoy, you can even buy these on line.
  • GRAPEFRUIT- again slugs and snails seem to be drawn to upturned Grapefruit skins, enjoy the fruit for breakfast and then place the upturned grapefruit skin in amongst your plants. Then in simply collect them and dispose of the pests.
  • ROUGH SURFACES – slugs and snails do not like to crawl over surfaces that are gritty, sharp or absorbent, so sprinkle either crushed egg shells, sharp sand, grit or even used coffee grounds around your most precious plants.
  • NEMATODES – specifically bred to attack slugs and snails such as Nemaslug, which need to be bought from a specialist supplier, they are live organisms so aren’t usually on the shop shelf, usually mixed with water and applied directly to the soil, these little creatures will attack the Slugs and Snails from within. See here for full instructions. This is an environmentally safe method as they are not harmful to anyone or thing except the slimy menaces in our gardens. A note to warning though, these nematodes will also kill the snails found in ponds, so if using ensure that you read the manufacturers instructions and keep away from your pond.
  • NATURAL ENEMIES – encouraging slugs and snails natural predators into your garden will significantly reduce the amount of slugs and snails in the garden. Frogs, toads, ground beetles, hedgehogs and birds all feed on these pests. Creating a healthy eco system with in your garden will help to keep the numbers down naturally.
  • SLUG PELLETS – these really are poison and should you need to resort to them bear this in mind, they are harmful to wildlife, birds can die if they eat slugs killed by them. Your pets can also become sick or even die again if accidentally eating the pellets or slugs killed by them. See here for further information. So use very sparingly A few slug pellets if you are desperate, especially when fresh shoots appear in Spring, but use sparingly if you absolutely have to resort to them.