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20/06/2012 at 11:35

Hi everyone,

 

Never thought I would ever post in a gardening forum in my life but here goes!

My fiance and I bought our first home 2 years ago and have completly redecorated, included doing up the garden.

Last year we noticed whatever we planted ended up lasting roughly 24hours before being munched by slugs and snails!

This year we took measures to try and combat the problem but I think it's a tad out of hand and really I would really like some advice!

We have researched plants which do not attract slugs and snails which we planted out - they have been eaten.
We have put out beer/yeast traps which work on a tiny proportion of the nasties!
As a veterinary nurse I refuse to use slug pellets as even the 'animal friendly' ones can cause domestic pets to die!  Plus with out neighbours cat roaming our garden I just don't think it is safe.
Considered salt but know this will damage the soil/plants.

Last night alone just after dark our slug hunt landed us well over 100 slugs and snails!  This morning I have checked the garden and all of the plants I put out on Monday have gone!  Literally there is nothing left!

I think they are coming from within the Ivy between us and our neighbour. I am reluctant to tear this down as I know there is not really a suitable fence between us and I like the privacy it offers!

Can anyone please help me as at the moment we are wasting our money trying to have a nice garden!!!!
Many thanks!!

20/06/2012 at 11:42

Night time hunts are the most effective way, I'm afraid, but you do have to repeat them nightly for a few weeks to have any significant effect.

20/06/2012 at 11:49

I keep saying this and don't what to get in to an argument- especially with a veterinary nurse- but slug pellets if used properly will not hurt any animal especially cats or dogs they would have to eat hundreds and that surely is unlikely.

You obviously have a huge problem and  pellets are a sure way of controlling them-they are called wildlife friendly because they are- that is if you don't want to use the blue ones.

Bran apparently works as a deterrent also but I have never tried it.

20/06/2012 at 11:53

And you could research nematodes. I think one of the products is called nemaslug.

20/06/2012 at 11:58

I agree that a regular night-time hunt is the most effective control. Though, personally, I walk round first thing in the morning (too busy watching telly at night); that's not quite as effective as nighttime, but I find it more convenient, and it saves having to use a torch too. It still works, and I have almost-pristine hostas and lupins.

If they have an attractive home nearby, then you do have a problem. Perhaps some kind of physical barrier is needed. Growing vulnerable plants in pots or tubs is another solution.

20/06/2012 at 12:27

Personally I feel that thinking that hand-picking will make one iota of difference to the slug/snail population is living in dreamland.

Try 'Slug Clear', liquid slug killer....the thing that gets deaded, is the target species.

20/06/2012 at 12:30

I meant to say 'the only thing that gets deaded'....nice if the edit button worked!

20/06/2012 at 12:39

It would be, wouldn't it?

As for hand-picking - that's what we did in our front garden, and it really made a big difference. Well, at about 80 slugs a night for a whole summer, it had to!

20/06/2012 at 13:19

I suppose it depends on the size of your plot, Alina.

Given the size of my own garden, if I went out after dark, it would probably be daylight before I got to bed.

Sap
20/06/2012 at 13:37

Encourage birds to live in the garden, nest boxes, low growing ground cover, a bird bath and feeding table, a few bushes and maybe a small tree. They will restore the balance and also you will be helping the general environment.

20/06/2012 at 13:42

Total plot size is irrelevant. You simply need to check over the places where vulnerable plants are situated. I have a very large garden. I simply check my lupins, hostas, and also strawberries. I don't find that slugs are a noticable problem anywhere else. I'm sure there are plenty, but they are not a problem. And of course, hedgehogs, birds and frogs will take out a good number.

Here's one of my hostas... no pellets... no weird solutions... just a regular check...

http://i849.photobucket.com/albums/ab51/falcosubbuteo/slug-free-hosta.jpg

 

20/06/2012 at 14:49

'no weird solutions'....I suppose it's down to what suits the individual.

20/06/2012 at 15:59

Given the scale of the problem I think I'm with David K and Geoff on this one. Sometimes you have to use chemicals to get things back in balance. The most effective stuff I ever used was a drench called "Slug It" many years ago - don't know whether it is still available.

The best long term solution is the encourage wildlife one, but that takes a lot of time.

20/06/2012 at 18:01

I've always used slug pellets and also have owned cats with no problem (for the cats).

 

20/06/2012 at 19:10

i too do not like or have ever used slug pellets, i must admit a few of my plants have holes and some types of plants i carnt grow.

i had some sandstones at the back of the border and this is where they used to hide.

find out where they hide usally somwhere dry and get em. i still carnt crush them so i put them in my bin, they quite like it in there.

21/06/2012 at 18:59

i have used nematodes for the past few years to protect hostas, delphiniums  and other 'slug favourites' with great success - applied via a watering can only around the vulnerable plants

More expensive than slug pellets and  repeat applications are necessary every 6-8 weeks or so.

Available only online i believe from places like Unwins, Garden Naturally, Green Gradener - they are not stocked in garden centres because they are a living organism with a 'use by' date

 

21/06/2012 at 19:20

The ivy is probably a place that snails will 'snooze' in during the day. Regular searches & stamping on any found is one option I suppose.

Nemaslug, nematodes, only tend to work on slugs I thought.

Growing treasures in pots, on pot feet & with copper tape around the pot rim does help. You can also get copper rings- supplied as strips- to put around vunerable plants when they are young & planted in the ground. Yes quite expensive to purchase initially, but can be reused every year.

Cheap porridge oats or bran regularly placed around vunerable plants also helps- but it does need replacing after rain!

Indirectly have discovered that crusts of Burgen soya & linseed loaf is a slug magnet! Put some out for the birds & they didnt get a look in- I did a lot of stamping on the slugs! J.

21/06/2012 at 20:54

I have a similar problem, having recently moved into a new house built on ground uncultivated for about 100 years! I do a morning hunt with a plant pot lined with kitchen roll and salt, they don't like that!!! I've also started keeping my coffee grounds and egg shells which I place around vulnerable plants (in my case mostly veg at the mo), along with beer traps laced with salt, a sprinkling of slug pellets and a dosing of Nemaslug!!! As you can guess, I'm going for total, all out, nucleur attack! Apparently, growing alliums around vulnerable plants also puts them off which is probably why my beetroot and kale are doing well, whilst my french beans are being decimated. 

21/06/2012 at 23:14
22/06/2012 at 07:14

When we moved here here last year the garden was completely surrounded by ivy about 8'high and the same across - it had obviously been even more rampant in the past as the remains of it are on the eaves of the house!  We'd been here a week when the weight of the ivy brought the fences crashing down in heavy rain.  Although we had been loathe to remove it because of its value to wildlife we were left with no alternative; we dug it out and had the garden refenced.  While digging it out we found thousands of snails and got to know our resident hedgehog.  Most of the snails disappeared (birds, toads and hedgehogs) and we have dug out the ivy roots and are replanting the beds and borders with other wildlife friendly plants and shrubs (but not ivy - we promised the neighbours we would not plant ivy - it had invaded their garden too!).  I've planted hostas (Sum & Substance and Blue Angel - fairly tough leaves and not as attractive to slugs, apparently) and delphiniums amongst other plants, and so far we've not had any slug damage - I'm hopeful that the fact that we've got a slightly gritty soil means that they'll survive.  We feed our hedgehog a little hedgehog food every evening in the hope that he'll stay around even if there are fewer snails.

There are plants that are less attractive to the marauding snails that live in your ivy - but all plants will need protecting from them when they're young and tender- if I were you I'd get a bag of grit and surround new plants with a mulch of it - we've got a bag of builder's coarse sand waiting for the builder to return, if a slug so much as looks at my hostas I'll be sprinkling a layer of that around them  - good luck.

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