Wage war on slugs and snails
2014 saw one of the warmest, wettest winters on record, and while it was great not to have to scrape ice off the car every day it was also the perfect climate for gardeners’ number one pests: slugs and snails! Across the UK there ‘s been a mollusc explosion in our gardens, eating their way through prized plants and munching through freshly sown seedlings and newly planted young vegetables, they are a major pest.
Luckily there are plenty of ways of getting rid of slugs and snails.
Nematodes are my favourite choice, their method of despatch is gruesome- they eat through their victims, but they are easy to use; you just water them in as the instructions, and they give weeks of protection. Best of all they kill slugs that live underground as well as the ones you spot above ground..
There are other, more traditional, organic methods such as going out at midnight armed with a torch and a bucket to pick them off by hand!
Blackbirds and Thrushes are particularly good at catching snails and despatching them. They bang the snail shells on the ground until the tasty mollusc inside is revealed. That tap-tapping can be a very welcome sound!
You can set traps made from halved grapefruits or fill saucers with beer- what a way to go! Much too good for slugs and snails in my book!
Use copper rings or copper tape that gives molluscs a small electric shock and deters them. Or scatter a circle of fine grit or crushed eggshells around vulnerable plants. The slugs and snails don’t like crossing the resulting sharp surface.
If you want to use more sophisticated products and chemical controls then try Eraza slug pellets or spray plants with Grazers slug and snail spray. Both will protect your plants.
Whatever you use remember to reapply after prolonged rain or heavy showers. Slug pellets have moved on since the early days and as long as you use them as directed they shouldn’t pose a problem to wildlife. Space them out well and don’t scatter them like snow!
At this time of year with young plants ready to plant, it’s imperative to act fast, don’t let slugs and snails make a tasty snack of your plants and seedlings!