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Hi from Slugworld!

I just want to vent to people who understand, lol!

My style of gardening is "as little faff as possible", so buy plants which slugs & snails won't eat.. allegedly..
I won't kill them, so I go out every night and pick multi mollusc off;
Daffodils, foxgloves, phlox, nemesia, lambs ears, geraniums (both of which were untouched last year), wallflowers, woody salvias, aubretia - all healthy and established plants. I mean, what the..??? I even put bits of food out sometimes, so I can pick up a few at a time, but no, they're happily chomping away on something furry or poisonous.

Is it just me? Do I live in an alternative reality, or do I have mutant/robot slugs and snails? 😄


  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited May 2022
    You have hungry slugs! They don't read books. I haven't had bushy salvias chomped, but yes, the rest of the list have got nommed in my garden. People like to parrot garden myths like foxgloves don't get mollocked. The greatest feeding frenzy I have had was over ... daffodils. 53 on one plant.

    Setting up slug pubs can help. If you are throwing a slug or snail away somewhere, it won't help. They have a three mile homing instinct, so they will just come back.  I put the buffet in the tallest pots I can manage, or use hanging baskets and window boxes where possible. I have managed to grow phlox, dahlias and foxgloves this way, even with ninja slugs. I do night hunts with scissors. The birds hoover up molluscs once they are cut up. I think it's just the slime they don't like. o:)

    Find places where slugs might be breeding - under pots, logs, slates or plastic places where they can keep cool during the day. Baby slugs like to hide under cover, so if you can keep the earth clear around your plants, you might get less attacks.

    My six strategies:

    - remove all wood piles
    - clean up. Make sure there is no detrius to eat - old leaves, twigs, prunings, deadheads
    - try nematodes. They seem to work for some people, perhaps depending on which type of chompers you have. I don't think they work well with Spanish slugs
    - do night hunts regularly. Don't put them back in or near your garden
    - use slug pubs consistantly
    - grow on new plants in pots until they are over two foot so that they can better survive attacks. This doesn't always help, but putting in a smaller plants than this is to give it away. 

    If you make your own compost, consider if they are acting like slug farms and the end product is full of slug eggs, multiplying the problems.

    Good luck.

  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    What do you do with them when you have collected them? Like most living things, slugs reproduce according to environment and food available. The more food, the more slugs. Gardeners produce a feast in a small space and then throw up their hands in amazement when the slugs turn up and flourish.

    @Fire has offered you a great range of solutions. The only one that really works for me is collecting and destroying them but it does work. I no longer have a problem. Good luck.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,848
    I had a big issue with them in my “yarden” at the last place we lived. 

    Snipping was the only thing that reduced the numbers. 

    Grim but effective. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,199
    They will appear if there's food. If you garden in isolation - ie of there aren't many other gardens around you, yours will be the restaurant of choice.
    You have to dispatch them - whether by snipping or scrunching underfoot or any other method, or else accept it, and/or plant fewer slug/snail attracting plants. 
    They reproduce in large numbers, so don't  kid yourself that chucking them over a fence, or similar, will do any good.  :)

    The Spanish slugs seem to eat everything, so if you're in an area that has those, it'll be a constant battle. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,743
    I would strongly disagree with some of the suggested methods of slug control. Wood piles encourage beetles, which are predators of slugs, and without compost your plants won’t grow well. Weak plants are much more likely to be a target.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    I do have wood piles and compost heaps, but my garden has lots of room. I can't claim I have ever found a beetle eating a slug, any more than our many toads, but I'm happy to give them the chance.  It IS really important to pick up fallen leaves and rotting stems, removing slugs as you go.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,199
    "Weak plants are much more likely to be a target."

    Indeed. Plants grown harder are more able to withstand potential damage. Applying compost, or any organic matter to the soil, rather than artificial food, is always better too. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,457
    Haha! Not just me then!
    I'm never going to kill them, partly because we have tons of birds, and some frogs and a hedgehog.  I have wood piles I'll never move because they're there for the littl'uns.. so I put them on the gravel patch where I feed the birds, because they clean up bits of bird seed, and the frogs wait there for them - easy pickings is slugs in a terracotta dish! 😄
  • Supermarket own brand bitter is the way to go - slugs in my garden can't get enough of it. And to ones who don't make it to the traps? I get out and pick them off myself. My slug problem has massively reduced this year because of the work I put in last year. Keep going!
    An exotic jungle garden in West Yorkshire: /
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited May 2022
    punkdoc said:
     Wood piles encourage beetles, which are predators of slugs, and without compost your plants won’t grow well. Weak plants are much more likely to be a target.

    I'm not suggesting people take out wood piles - but if they have crazy slug numbers it's worth investigating how their piles are working. In trying to build a wildlife garden one of the first things I did was build log piles everywhere. I put logs under all the hedges. I practised 'chop and drop' to create mulch and cover. But I found that the slug problems were getting progressively worse and worse. After close investigation of options last year, I examined the wood piles over months and found the underside of the logs simply coated in slugs and sheltering slug eggs. The dead leaves were the same. My growing area in my back garden is only 3x7 metres and it just can't support the kind of slug numbers I was getting. They were eating everything grown for wider wildlife - like foxgloves, linaria, hollyhocks etc.  It was a difficult decision to move all the piles that I had spent years building (and heavy work), but it made sense to at least try the option for some years to see if it makes a difference.  

    For a bigger garden with a wider ecology, wood piles might not make a significant difference to slug levels.

    I'm also not suggesting that people don't make thier own compost. I love composting. I'm suggesting people look into how their compost systems are working. I suspect my own bins have become slug farms and the compost I am making is loaded with slug eggs. I'm looking into how I can understand their ecology better.

    One thing I have learnt from doing slug trials is that everyone's garden will be different. A bit like the soil conditions can be quite different a few doors down, so slug situtations will vary wildly. Spanish slugs seem to be a game changer. What works and succeeds for one person might not for another. Simple soutions like "beetles, frogs and hedgehogs eat slugs" just don't hold in certain settings.

    Be curious. Test, experiment, try out solutions and see what happens.
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