Monday, 9 March 2015

Snail and slug control

Snail - Wikimedia
Last week, we mentioned stocking up on snail and slug control products. March and April are wet months in Britain and these garden pests can become a problem. And no, it's not OK to throw them over the fence into your neighbour's garden or allotment. So here is a collection of ways to protect tender, green shoots from slugs and snails.

Slug - Soil-net Library
Snails can look cute and slugs are interesting to watch if you are a child, but for gardeners they are a yearly challenge. When all your carefully planted seedlings have been munched and you are left with bare earth and chomped tendrils, many gardeners will feel frustrated if not angry. So there are those who will squash such pests under their wellies or go on recces early in the morning and bag all the snails, then throw them away. The latter approach is brutal but effective if the garden or plot is infested with slugs and snails. Or you might want to encourage birds into your garden, frogs and any other animal that will deal with the pests for you. A toad can eat up to 100 slugs a night!

Other ways to deal with garden pests

Apparently, according to Amateur Gardening, slugs tend to live within an area of 4.8m in diameter, so you don't need too many traps to cover a small garden or plot. For this reason many gardeners have switched from pellets to traps. Other ways to deal with snails and slugs include:
  • Nematodes: eelworms that enter slugs and reduce their reproduction. Once the population of slugs dwindle, these worms will return to natural levels.
  • Copper barriers: rings are sold but you might have some copper tubing laying around that can be used to ring-fence your raised beds or planted areas.
  • Pellets: they are made to be unattractive to birds and other wildlife (hence the blue colour), but you will need to reapply them after heavy rains and some gardeners don't feel comfortable using them.
  • Beer traps: bury a jar or yogurt pot to its rim, fill with cheap bear and cover it so rain doesn't dilute it.
  • Half a melon/orange/grapefruit, flesh scooped out and placed on the earth to form a 'little home'. Come back the next morning and you might find some visitors attached to the domed walls.
Do you have any tips to share? Please leave a comment.

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