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what's eating my tulips

Hi all,

Well, the tulip leaves are already poking through a few inches, yet already they are being consumed by something.   There are holes in the leaves on every plant already - can't quite believe it at this time of year?

I suspected slugs and threw down a load of slug pellets - but surely it's too cold for such pests to be about, or is it?

Every year these plants seem to be ravaged more than most; any advice would be appreciated here please.

I put pellets also around the lupins already - perhaps i was paranoid that they would be the next target, but the young shoots appeared undisturbed compared to the tulips.

Thanks all,



  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 36,192

    Hi PdG. A picture here to show the damage might help us to answer your query.

    If you can possibly avoid it please don't use slug pellets so lavishly, if at all, as they are a danger to all sorts of wildlife such as birds and hedgehogs.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,158

    I second Ladybird's comment and add that once you start interfering with the balance of creatures in the garden, (by selectively killing) you lay yourself open to all sorts of pests. No chemicals have hit this garden for about 25 years and nothing eats my tulip leaves, though the muntjac may eat the flowers

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Well birds seem to be few and far between in my town garden (cats seem to take plenty of them), which is a crying shame.   Perhaps the odd blackbird here and there.

    As far as I know not many garden birds eat slugs but I could be wrong.

    I'm pretty sure the damage is from  young slugs or baby snails living in the soil (microscopic perhaps) having googled what is causing these small holes.

    I would hate to think the pellets are harming birds, though there aren't exactly many about, never mind hedgehogs, which I don't believe they would have anywhere in my garden to shelter anyhow (though we perhaps have the odd one out the front that we've never seen, only going on droppings left in the autumn).

    My main issue is that the pellets are unsightly - I've come across nematodes so may look into using those instead, though I hear they aren't so effective on heavy clay like ours.

    Sorry, but 'balance' you speak of is utopia I think and perhaps you are both lucky if you are issue-free and have achieved this utopia.    It will never happen in this garden and I am not prepared to stand back and let slugs / snails wreck havoc on our plants.    

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