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Snails and Slugs prevention idea?

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  • EmerionEmerion Carmarthenshire Posts: 420
    I have battled, and still battle with slugs in this very rainy area. I’ve tried every “sure fire” trick going and never found one that worked . 

    Beer in jars - you will certainly kill a few, but there are thousands of slugs out there, so don’t waste your beer. And it’s a revolting job emptying the jars if you forget for a day or two!
    Copper - does it work? - No!
    Pellets (organic) - they work to some extent, but you will forget to put them down eventually. 
    Crushed egg shells - no effect whatsoever
    Wood ash - ditto
    Sheeps wool - nope ( we have sheep, so an endless supply, I applied it generously).
    Having a pond - certainly helps, but the amphibians won’t get them all.
    Nematodes - I tried them once, years ago, and they worked for a few weeks. I think I was deterred by the cost from trying them again, because we have a very big garden and veg plot. They might be worth a go. 

    I find that the most helpful thing is to be thorough in picking up all rotting leaves/vegetation, including all of the weeds that you pull or hoe unless they are very tiny. No, I don’t always do this myself, and I notice a difference when I’ve been lazy. Slugs do seem to be attracted to dying and rotting vegetation, (maybe from the smell?), and then they move on to your tender plants. Reduce areas for them to hide in close to your most vulnerable plants. Neglecting to strim long grass next to the veg patch can cost you  dearly. Also, if you have a greenhouse, water in the morning so that the soil is dry by night time. 
    Carmarthenshire 
    If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake. 
  • Simone_in_WiltshireSimone_in_Wiltshire WiltshirePosts: 164
    Until summer this year, I also collected slugs and snails. Monty said in one of the GW episodes that they eat mostly rotten leaves. Then Arit asked to leave them alive and
    I gave the slugs and snails one year. I have no idea what Spring will be like, but I noticed that since I left them, I no longer had to remove rotting leaves. As a side effect, my herbaceous plants looked so healthy compare to the years since 2016 when I started the garden. I have a habit of buying one plant on its own, which means I have probably 20+ different plants on a small plot and some evergreens shrubs. I noticed that the slugs go to certain plants but not to others. For example, they don't like Leucantheum and wild-flowers, but love Cytisus and the fresh green from the Delphinium and Eremerus like all bulbs that develop. I cover the Delphinium and Eremurus.
    I might have a problem in Spring, and will observe what happens.
    Being a German, after living in the UK for many years, my English is still far from being perfect, but I always do my best.
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,204
    I have enormous respect for Monty and I like  Arit, but they don't understand what a true slug problem is. All this rubbish about control by wildlife and them just eating fallen leaves.... I'm  afraid that if you garden in an area where slugs are a problem you have to choose between controlling them or losing almost everything you grow. That's  it. Birds will not control them, they will not confine themselves to old leaves.
     Slugs multiply until their environment will no longer support them. Your garden is packed with slug food. If other conditions favour slugs they will multiply until they have eaten everything. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    Absolutely @Posy. It's nonsense to suggest they only eat rotten leaves too. 
    I would never do anything else in the garden if I went round picking up slugs and snails. I don't grow lots of plants they definitely go for - especially soft, lush perennials. It's pointless.
    I have some plants which are vulnerable- clematis for example,  but I like them enough to keep an eye on them, and once they're big enough, they can withstand attacks.
    I also think people over feed their plants, which just promotes the kind of soft greenery they like. 
    Thick piles of wet leaves are just a convenient hiding place for them [there's a discussion on another thread about fallen leaves] so I certainly don't leave those in beds to any depth. They'd be gathered for leaf mould if there were thick layers. I can't see that it would make a difference having less wood for them though. Plenty of other places for them to hide in and breed.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • @Posy All I can say is that your description doesn't match my experience.
    My garden is over an acre, too large for me to keep on top of things and it is therefore a slug paradise. There are stone walls, long grass, piles of plant material, dead leaves and so on everywhere, with copious rainfall most years and little disturbance. Yet slugs are not a major problem here, in the way you describe, though I take them into account at planting time. I use slug pellets sparingly and rarely, I don't hunt them down and I don't kill those I find, just chuck them towards a wilder area.
    I have to watch out for them in the greenhouse with young seedlings, and with strawberries in wet weather. I've had to remove some lower leaves on brassicas. I try to grow plants to a decent size before planting out and site more vulnerable plants in slightly drier conditions. Yet I can grow dahlias and Hostas and a host of other plants without major damage and the loss of plants, when it occurs, (and it does, I'm in no way perfect!) is more often attributable to other factors than it is to slugs or snails.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 13,947
    edited December 2021
    I am interested in the slug density question.  I imagine in a large area like Monty's he might not get big concentrations of slugs, except for, perhaps in the veg gardens or greenhouses. 

    I also wonder about the question of slug eggs. If you have a kind of large, mature and varied setting like his, maybe there is a wider eco-system that includes lots of predators of slug eggs. I am the only one trying to grow herbaceous perennials for at least four plots either side of my terrace and three behind my garden. The rest of the gardens are concreted, have artificial grass or short lawn. I imagine I might be providing a restaurant for the neighbourhood's slugs who can't get a good feed elsewhere. I have a very high density of slugs and presume the critters that predate slug eggs are no where near in propotion to the slug explosion.

    It is true that there are around 40 species of slug found in the UK and many just eat detritus, not living plants. But that's not to say that the rest can't do huge damage and put people off gardening at all.

    I'm all for bringing wildlife into the gardens and improving soils. I also don't want to give up the will to garden - turning the whole plot over to geraniums and throwing in the towel. I am trying at the moment to find that balance.
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,204
    I believe the type of soil can make a difference,  but my particular problem is Spanish slugs, an alien species which has flourished in this country. In some areas they have become a menace because they have no natural predators,  breed well in our climate and are active for more of the year. They eat a very wide range of plants. They achieve very high populations and are difficult to control with traditional methods.
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,204
    I think you have made my point, @Buttercupdays. If you don't have a slug problem, you don't.  If you DO, wildlife and tolerance will not be enough.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,008
    I no longer grow soft, leafy vegetables, perennials or annuals because of the damage and destruction caused by dreaded slugs!  I have removed plants that have proven to be definite slug magnets like bergenias and try to find plants that are claimed to be slug resistant, removing them later if they're not!  I grow a lot of ornamental grasses - slugs don't seem to touch these.  I'm also lucky to have a pair of  blackbird visitors who patrol my lawn and borders every day.  Nature will find it's balance but you can help it along by not providing slugs with easy food through selective plant choice, good garden hygiene, encouraging wildlife and not overfeeding plants to produce that soft, leafy growth that slugs enjoy.
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 13,947
    "Nature will find its balance".

    I would make the comparison with deer. If there are not the predators, then, no nature cannot find its balance in the next few thousand years. If nothing eats Spanish slugs then the populations continue to explode.
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