This blog will look at the many options of slug and snail control methods available to us. The time of year that all gardeners fear is here. Many have gone out this morning to find their beautiful Dahlias. Are nothing more than a green stalk sticking out of the ground. For tomorrows lunch of fresh salad from the garden. Is now just going to be just a boiled egg and an onion. Which have survived this savage and brutal attack from these slimy critters!!
The issue is that sometimes we don’t know the attack is imminent. We can be caught unaware and our hard work and effort can be stolen from us in a single nights onslaught. These guys are really cunning and like any well planned invasion. They never attack at the same time of year, sometimes its one single full on onslaught other times it multiple waves over time. Both with equally devastating and demoralising results for us the gardeners.
On the other hand these critters have to eat! Haven’t they? (I hear you all screaming.( “yea but can’t they eat in my neighbours garden”) . They are also part of a greater ecosystem in our garden. Where Mother Nature has planted some ninjas of her own to take them out to restore balance. These ninjas come in the form of hedgehogs, song Thrush and a few more.
Sometimes though even ninjas need our help to keep these beasts under control. Remember some of these guys can carry their house around on their back all their lives so they are tough!!
So what can we do to make sure our hard work is not just taken from us? Let’s look at some of the best slug and snail control options available to us. You can decide which one works best for your garden.
My first suggestion for slug and snail control is organic slug pellets which are highly effective at killing slugs & snails. Made from ferric phosphate which occurs naturally in nature. Generally preform well in damp conditions. Of course this is when most slugs come out to play. The most important point is they work. Equally important is they are safe to use and children/pets do not need to be excluded from the treated area. There will be no visible slime trails or dead slugs evident in the treated area. As they go back underground where they die. Because of this there no danger to our friends the hedgehog and Thrush from secondary poisoning. So this is a great option.
Now these are the most effective way to kill slugs & snails but nowadays are quite controversial. With many stories of killing birds etc. it’s days may be numbered. While it would have the capability of harming wildlife and has done in certain cases! A lot of the problems stem from misuse or overuse. When used as all products should. According to the pack instructions they are unlikely to cause any undesired effects. Once the slugs and snails eat the slug pellet they will die. The down side is, they do cause the slugs & snails to leave slime trails. Which means you can and will see dead slugs in the garden!!
These are exactly as they sound “. A trap for slugs and snails filled with beer”. So how these work is that you fill the trap with beer. (Just fill it with cheap stuff as far as I know they are not fussy). It’s then buried in the ground, the beer gives off a sweet aroma. Which attracts the slugs & snails, they head in and unfortunately for them they can’t get back out. These are very effective but make sure that it has a lid and that you have a couple in bigger areas. You also need to bait and empty regularly.
This is the first barrier type weapon for the war. Basically the slugs and snail get a kind of electric shock. If they crawl over copper so they won’t crawl over it. The tape can be put around the outer edge of a flower pot. The slugs won’t crawl over it to feast on your plants. The only caution here is if they are already in the pots in which case your locking them in. If starting off fresh or you know your pots are slug free.
Another barrier product and really effective. Made from sheeps dags after shearing these are mulched together and formed into pellets. Which are made up of sheeps manure and wool. You spread them around each plant you want to protect. Once they get a bit of moisture the hair in the wool stand up. These bristles are not nice terrain for slugs & snails so they opt not to crawl over to your plant. You have the added bonus of the manure which will have some nutrients which your plant can use. You may need to use a couple of times depending on weather conditions. A great option which is highly effective and comes with a no body count.
The only one where I have named the product. As to my knowledge it is the only product of this type. Grazers product started life as a calcium based spray to reduce damage from rabbits etc from agri crop. Once its success was proven it came through into gardening as Grazers original. In both concentrate and ready to use formulas. After a number of years reports were coming back that slugs and snails were also deterred from eating the crops once treated.
Hence Grazers G2 came to be and again is available in concentrate and ready to use. You basically spray the plants you want to protect and the slugs won’t eat them, great yes? The downside is that you need to keep on top of it and spray regularly. If not, what will happen is our enemies will pounce. Especially if we are getting heavy showers as it can wash off. Plus sideM, the calcium based spray also helps the plants grow. As with the last couple there is no killing involved.
Nematodes are natural predators. (Basically creepy crawlies to kill the creepy crawlies which are causing you a problem). They are available in many forms such as vine weevil nematodes, ant nematodes etc. Successfully used commercially for many years. Becoming more popular with gardeners as the move away from chemical solutions increases. In the garden these offer good control of slugs and snails. In a natural, environmentally friendly way which doesn’t harm wildlife.
These nematodes are released in a single treatment (millions at a time). They seek out and destroy our enemies. Best time to use March -October. They are a natural product and need to be used quite quickly after purchase. Although some new technologies are increasing this shelf life so keep an eye out for these. These nematodes should be applied every 6 weeks for complete control, although you can get very satisfactory control in one or two treatments. There are other slug and snail control methods options that you will hear people using like egg shells, coffee grounds, salt & going out at night with a torch and special grippers to remove them from your patch and throw them into the neighbours but will you remember every night ? One thing is certain this war will rage forever and only the most resilient will come out on top. Choose the best options for you and your garden best of luck.
Until the next time.
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