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24/05/2014 at 22:23

Grrr! Just back from our hols and because of all the wonderfully wet weather here, I've found the slugs have been feasting their fat little faces on my lupins and hollyhocks in spite of the 'Slug Pubs' of real ale I kindly left for them - how very unappreciative. 

So this is war, what's the most powerful stuff I could use? 

24/05/2014 at 22:46
Oh how I sympathise Caral. I found half a dozen of my cornflower seedlings chewed and bitten this morning,after patiently watching them burst through the compost...promising gorgeous blue flowers in a few weeks gently swaying in the breeze.But no,a fat snail was stuck to the side of the tub. I've been kind to them this spring,collecting them in a pot and releasing them at the bottom of the garden.But today my patience snapped and I launched it onto the lawn,hopefully where a passing Song Thrush might see it.
25/05/2014 at 06:43

Oh poor you, how very disheartening. I've been very patient with them and even blase in thinking that we all have to eat, but seeing the flowers on my red hot pokers half eaten and huge holes everywhere, enough is enough. I'll be digging up any baby slugs today and going out with a torch tonight, but whoever taught them how to play hide and seek needs a stern talking to...          

25/05/2014 at 07:42

Caral, we all have our slug sob stories.  This year they've killed two emerging lilies and a delphinium (the only one out of two that came up).  I haven't grown lupins for years because it just breaks my heart when they get eaten.

I've never used slug pellets because when I started gardening my children were small, now they're big and sensible but I still don't want little blue pellets everywhere.  I hate slugs and snails with a passion,  but over the years I've developed the following strategies:

Slug hunt every night with a torch.  Pick them off and put them in a jar of salt water.

Snails are crushed and thrown onto the path for the birds.

I cut up plastic bottles and put copper tape around them then sink them into the ground to protect vunerable emerging shoots.  If I forget, then I'm punished, hence the delphinium and lily massacre this year.

Anything I love and I know they are going to decimate, like my hosta or marigolds, goes into a pot with copper tape around the edge.

I have a couple of beer traps which I do find helpful.  Last year a dahlia from the local gc was being chewed to death.  It was too big for a copper ring, so I popped the trap next to the plant, and that seemed to do the trick.  They came over for the dahlia but then were distracted by the beer and died an alcoholic death.  Can't say I'm sorry. 

It's not foolproof.  I posted on a thread the other day about how I found some holes in my hosta leaves and then found a small snail nestling in the middle of the plant.  I think it crawled up the wall and then onto the leaves which were touching it.  So the pot has been moved away from the wall now.

I had an Achillea millefolium Cerise Queen in the ground.  Last year I put a copper ring around it as they ate it almost to extinction.  I got a few flowers, but I noticed this year that even in spite of the ring they were still attacking the bits that flopped over and the plant just was not thriving.  So I've popped it into a pot and hey presto, in just a week it's sending up loads of shoots and seems a lot happier.

It's an ongoing war, you can never relax.  Always be vigilant and you will manage to hold them back enough to grow the plants you want.  You're not alone!!

.

25/05/2014 at 07:50

SALT, they dont like it up um. Of course one needs to locate the little blighters first and then sprinkle with the stuff.

I find that the small sachets one finds in the till area of most high st food chains or works cafeteria ideal & I keep a supply of these in my pocket whilst I garden. Not P/C perhaps But effective

25/05/2014 at 08:00

We have giant snails here so I've been doing a lot of snail throwing 

The slugs now get chopped 

It's why I also don't grow too many plants which have soft sappy growth at this time of year. it's like Raymond Blanc's restaurant for them. Lilies are in pots with sharp grit. Much easier to keep an eye on them. Encouraging birds in helps but I do miss having a pond so that the frogs can have their fill. That will comelater I hope.

25/05/2014 at 08:05
25/05/2014 at 08:45

I wonder if it would deter more than just slugs Dove.....

25/05/2014 at 09:08

Daisyheadcase, think you are doing everything you can. Im a night patrol guy too and think it's best way.  

Copper is effective around pots but slugs and snails inhabit the soil inside the pots too.  A pellet or two discreetly placed under leaves then will help.  Ditto copper rings in the garden.

Right now it's lupins, delphiniums, heleniums, leucanthemums, salvias, and dahlias that attract slugs in my garden so I target those plants in particular.  Get to know what your plants do at certain times of the year...it does help to control these pests.  For example, pinks are now starting to flower and soon slugs will turn their attention to these plants.  Hostas when flowering attract every slug and snail. it's for that reason that I do not allow some ESP good foliage varieties to flower.  (flowering seems to exhaust the hostas' vibrancy anyway)

For me, when I  see the first signs of attack, I look carefully around the affected plant and, sure enough, the little blighter is there.  Understand your enemy......an old boxing maxim. 

Not a good idea to sprinkle salt in the garden I think.......

25/05/2014 at 10:15

It doesn't necessarily stop the slugs but I've found the following method very effective.

For beer traps, purchase a 12 pack, use 2 cans for the traps and when/if that fails to stop the slugs sit down and drink the rest.  At least you don't care for a while

25/05/2014 at 10:26

Must say, I don't quite get sprinkling salt on the slugs if you have to go out and find them first anyway.  Might as well pick them up and put in a bucket of salt water.  Salting them in situ will up the sodium content of the soil, which plants might not care for, plus leave you with an unsightly mess for several days.  Which is why I hardly ever use weedkiller, because I'm not entirely sure whether a bunch of crisp yellow weeds is any more attractive that some green vigorous ones.  If you're going to the trouble of dealing with them, whipping them out has an instant good effect.  I only use weedkiller for weeds where I know I won't be able to get the roots out.  Slug pubs will become less effective when it rains, because the beer will be diluted, and if the pub is full to the brim, won't the slugs be able to drink and go?  Isn't the point of them that the liquid level should cause them to lean over and topple in?  I don't know because I have never tried one, but that was what I thought you had to do?  If you do use slug pellets, I tend to only use them in areas where the birds can't get to them - ie under netting, and try to remove the corpses.  Unfortunately, evenings here are like Piccadilly Circus, so I can't get round to much evening gardening. 

25/05/2014 at 10:30

I've recently tried slug pubs and I think I must have tee-total slugs here because it didn't work, not one little slimy horror was tempted. I remember my mum using them and it was really successful with my dad's home brew, so I guess John Smiths isn't good enough!

I've now gone back to using copper tape around a few pots and slug pellets in some of the pots themselves. I only bother on plants the slugs love to eat, and going out at night with a big bag of value salt I bought from sainsbury's for 20p! Last night they were going for my newly replanted salpiglossis seedlings so I put a ring of salt around it as a quick measure and it's stopped them being munched any further. 

I also found trying to find where they live in the day useful. A lot of ours live under the shed and a few loose paving slabs (garden is a work in progress!) and putting slug pellets under the shed & stones really cut down the amount. They couldn't get out without being poisoned.

Good luck with your fight! Horrible things.

25/05/2014 at 11:03

I hate, hate hate the little blighters, they are recking everything in my garden. Trouble is and I get very annoyed with myself I cant bring myself to kill them so I to will be out with the torch! Just how far away will I have to dump them though, I mean am I looking at a car journey!

25/05/2014 at 11:58

Oh, how you have my sympathy, they are like a plague of locusts, eating everYthing they find and leaving the mess and devastation for you to clean up. My hubby finally lost the plot with the little blighters and now uses them for tennis practice into a large wild field next to our house. But the little blighters are like homing pigeons they just keep COMING BACK!!!!!!!

25/05/2014 at 14:04
Slugs and snails are the main reason I have so many pots and containers now,and they are close to the house on concrete.This enables me to sprinkle a ring of salt between the house and the edge of the lawn.However,if just one escapes my snail hunt then the damage is done,hence the chewed cornflowers. I've now had to re-sow that tub and place it on my garden table.Now unless they can parachute onto the table,the latest seedlings should be safe.But the lengths we have to go to?

I've just planted three young Foxgloves down the garden but will have to come up with a plan. The salt method seems a bit risky on soil as if it rains,the very plants I'm trying to protect will be drinking salt water.There was an article in the daily mail the other day about the snail/slug epidemic this year and its blamed on such a mild winter.And where are the Song Thrushes I ask? There is a banquet waiting for them but no takers it seems...
25/05/2014 at 15:22

Horticultural grit around plants in the borders may help.  Mix in some slug pellets as well and hopefully you'll get most of them.

25/05/2014 at 16:49

Thanks for all the super replies. I loved idea of killing them in salt water. Rather sadistic I know but that's possibly because I've taken KT53 advice and drunk the beer instead of giving it to the slugs. I made a start in the boggy and shadiest part of the garden and spend some time training the boys (7 & 3) in the art of killing snails and slugs. Gosh! we did find some big ones particularly nestled comfortably on the underside of the primula candelabra leaves. Another  4 'slug pubs' have gone around the lupins, and I've rejuvenated the ones already in place with milk in case some of my slugs are also tee total.

Tonight watching Jack Bauer will have to wait, as I intend to be armed with a torch and a trug of salt water! The slugs will not win this time, they may have beaten me with hostas, but they are not having my lupins!    

25/05/2014 at 17:48

Not convinced about grit and sand deterring slugs.  The Towans...and beach...is just a few minutes from me and the sandy paths are littered with slugs.  Physical removal is the only way to control them.

25/05/2014 at 18:16
Fishy65 wrote (see)


And where are the Song Thrushes I ask? There is a banquet waiting for them but no takers it seems...
Oh Fishy, I found a dead song thrush behind the compost bin.  My guilt complex about sometimes using pellets set in immediately, but of course I then noticed the injuries and realised that our unwelcome feline visitor from next door had been at work - the thrush was in the area where he comes in and out.  The slug pellets were in a netted area a long way away. 
We don't have many slugs here, but snails in abundance.  I sometimes wonder if I should find a French cookbook, some garlic, butter and parsley, and take my revenge that way!  Obviously not a good idea to use any pellets if I ever did that.....

 

25/05/2014 at 18:30
I'm sorry to hear about your Song Thrush Bee At least you're blameless though.There are few sounds more remarkable than a Song Thrush tapping a snail on a stone to crack the shell (unless you're a snail of course).

Yes try cooking the little blighters!! I wonder if the French have slug and snail problems.And weren't the big brown snails introduced to Britain by the Romans for food?
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