There are nearly 130 species of slugs and snails in the UK and many are garden pests that can quickly wreak havoc. So how do you keep them off your prized plants?
Like most people, I loved last week’s heatwave. After months of freezing weather, not only did I shed some layers, but I also managed to have a good go at my garden. It also meant that the slugs and snails that usually lay siege to all 35 foot of it called something of a ceasefire.
Of course, I fully expected this reprieve to be temporary – and it was. Being north-east facing and surrounded by trees on all corners, my garden is often damp and prone to attack.
In the past, I’ve planted a whole bed of delphiniums, lupins, hollyhocks and foxgloves, expecting it to grow in to a beautiful cottage-style garden. Sadly, the following day, the foxgloves were the only thing still standing – albeit distinctly nibbled.
I’ve also seen clematis, rudbeckia, runner beans and pots of hostas decimated. I’ve even had a hydrangea stripped of its leaves – and that’s a plant said not to be particularly palatable to these pesky pests.
On the defence
After providing slugs and snails with a few too many expensive meals, I’ve since made a point of protecting my plants.
With a neighbourhood full of cats and owning one myself, I’m conscious of using pellets containing metaldehyde, so have experimented with other methods over the years.
These have included rubbing Vaseline along the rim of pots, setting beer traps, using eggshells and shingle, and removing them by hand.
All have had varying degrees of success, so I was interested to know what slug and snail controls Which? Gardening recommends.
Slug and snail solutions
After years of testing different methods in both lab and field trials, it has found that slug and snail bait pellets or the biological control Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita (a microscopic parasitic worm and natural enemy of slugs) are the most effective slug and snail controls.
If, like me, you’re conscious of poisoning cats or other wildlife, use organic slug pellets made from ferric phosphate. The biological control, meanwhile, comes in powder form that you dilute and water on your garden.
Do you have a problem with slugs and snails in your garden? What controls have you used to deal with them?
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What slug and snail controls do you use?
Remove them by hand (22%, 302 Votes)
Chemical slug pellets (metaldehyde) (17%, 243 Votes)
Nothing (15%, 216 Votes)
Organic slug pellets (ferric phosphate) (12%, 169 Votes)
Homemade physical barriers (soot, eggshells, coffee grounds etc.) (10%, 144 Votes)
Copper rings (9%, 124 Votes)
Beer traps (7%, 96 Votes)
Harsh language (5%, 68 Votes)
Mats or tapes (2%, 33 Votes)
Total Voters: 868