Slugs and snails and pussycat tails

Posted: Tuesday 6 March 2012
by Pippa Greenwood

Now that March is here, it’s a good time to grab the snail by the horns and start control measures.

Snail on leaf

A few weeks ago, we took on another cat from the local rescue centre at Sidlesham. A crazy little thing, she was driven more crazy by the two weeks she had to spend inside, whilst she settled at home.

At last she’s been allowed outside, and has shown a fascinating lack of knowledge about life in the big, green world, but regularly brings me presents. I now have an ever-increasing slug collection.

She doesn’t catch slugs by tooth or claw, she brings them in on her ever-active tail. It’s great when you find a few on the carpet as you come downstairs, barefoot...

I suppose it all helps to control the population, and slug and snail numbers are already zooming upwards, not just in the house, but outdoors too. Now that March is here, it’s a good time to grab the snail by the horns and start control measures.

Forking over the soil to reveal many of the soil-dwellers helps, and there are always a few hungry birds around to eat them ... or if you have hens or ducks, give them a treat. It’s also worth collecting anything that you find works as a barrier, such as sea shells (if you happen to be going on a beach walk), pine needles or soot (if you’re having your chimney swept or know a local chimney sweep).

It’s definitely worth getting some nematode biological control, as soon as you notice more molluscs in your garden. It works brilliantly against slugs (but not snails as it performs below ground, where snails are unlikely to be found). And it’s easy to use – just mix it up with water and apply with a watering can to affected areas.

Used now, I find nematode control helps to clear the pests up in time for any early plantings, and also allows crops like my sea kale to emerge above ground without being eaten to a stump. And it’s not just for the veg plot, it works a treat protecting tender foliage and the stems of emerging herbaceous perennials too.

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Talkback: Slugs and snails and pussycat tails
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geoff fearn 07/03/2012 at 21:04

we have got more slugs than
year than any year before

Ron 08/03/2012 at 19:21

Make yourself a small pond, the frogs will eat them.

SFord 09/03/2012 at 08:25

Tried nematodes for the first time a couple of years ago and am now a convert! However, still have the problem of snails which need to be dealt with by hand to shell combat!

Atilla 09/03/2012 at 19:17

Frogs prefer worms and will not eat large slugs. They hardly dent the slug population in my experience. Poison pellets and going out at night and killing them are the only things that I have found that works.

spuddi 09/03/2012 at 22:43

i read a great by wellywoman on wordpress about the damage done by slugs in a Coldframe

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