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I have a problem with underground slugs eating newly planted shrubs in my front garden and want some help in trying to get rid of them before it gets too expensive to replace the plants that die.


Can you describe the little horrors for us, or even post a picture?

 And are they eating the roots or the tops of the shrubs?  

And what sort of shrubs are we talking about? 


Agree with Dove, we need to knoe more about these 'slugs'


A pic of the shrubs would be useful as well to see the type of damage


Sound more like cutworms than slugs. the only slugs in Britiain that live underground are keeled slugs and they mainly eat things like potatoes.


flowering rose

small slugs live under the soil as for this is where the eggs are to be found,and its the small slugs that do the most damage.


There are certainly slugs living in soil but I'm surprised to hear they're eating/killing  shrubs. Slugs cause damage in gardens but this sounds a bit extreme. 


Might not be slugs at all-possibly weevil grubs-but again more info needed.

If it's slugs, they are like the ones on our allotment and they do live under the soil, just coming up to eat our precious plants. I use Nematodes which are parasites to slugs and work brilliantly. You buy them online and water them into the soil. Easy to do and very effective. They saved most of our crops this year which was the Year of the Slug!


Certainly a big slug year here and I can see them eating veg and other succulent leaves. It's the extent of the shrub eating that surprises me.


I am very sorry to disagree with so many folks, but Slugs do not live underground. They live in the leaf litter on the soil and may appear to come from within the soil but they are surface living creatures. Nor, do they eat roots. Their preferences are for green leaves, decaying leaves and mostly for each other.


so when you find a slug in a hole in a spud you've just dug up? or the rotting tubers of something that's died? Where did they come from?


I think Berghill somehow has made a unintended contradiction as keel slugs living underground was mentioned earlier this morning

We still are no further forward though


Perhaps Sarah Garrett will come through with some more details soon.



The following facts I found in my documents, (using nematodes-without my judging!):

Infestations are less serious in dry weather but tend to become a problem during prolonged rainy weather. An individual grey field slug has the potential to produce 90,000 grandchildren and has approximately 27,000 teeth!

They live underground during the day, emerging at night to feed. One cubic metre of garden will on average contain up to 200 slugs. Slugs eat leaves, stems and roots of plants, weakening them and often causing them to die. They leave slimy trails over plants and soil, and are particularly devastating to seedlings and cuttings. Slugs leave their own individual scent trails so they can find their way home. Use packs of microscopic beneficial nematodes (eel worms) which are watered into pots or open ground with a watering can or hose. They enter the slug through a hole in its back while it is underground and poison it so that it will die within a few days underground, out of sight. Nematodes can be used indoors or outdoors, when temperatures are above 5°C. They remain in sufficient concentration to give good effectiveness for about 6 weeks. The best time to kill slugs is when the young are hatching in the spring, but nematodes can be applied all year round, whenever slugs are around. This year we were applying them in our glasshouses in January! Nematodes travel by slithering around the soil particles so the soil needs to be kept moist. If it is hot and dry they will either shrivel and die or hide away deep underground. These nematodes will kill snails if they come into contact with the soft part of their body. However snails feed on the surface, and the nematodes usually work underground within the soil so they are not a foolproof way of controlling snail populations. (The best way to deal with snails is to pick them off by hand or use a slug and snail trap).

"To know what we know, and know what we do not know, that is understanding."(Confucius)  Eco Thai German Farm, farmersvoice


there is no point in applying nematodes in the winter, start again in March. you could try a liquid slug killer, if the ground isnt frozen. At least its better than seeing all those horrible blue bits on the ground.


acording to my sources, Deroceras reticulatum,  the "grey field slug"


Deroceras reticulatum is almost exclusively restricted to cultivated areas, usually in open habitats, in meadows, near roadsides, in ruins, gardens and parks, not inside forests. It shelters under stones and ground litter (does not burrow into the soil). It is active at night.

Garden Slug (Arion hortensis Agg.)
The Garden Slug
Garden Slug (Arion hortensis)
The Garden Slug is the smal??lest of our nuis??ance slugs, typ??ic??ally reach??ing no more than 3cm (1?????) in length. However, it makes up for its small size by its vo??ra??cious ap??pet??ite. It???s a small black??ish creature with a pale side stripe and, like all Arion spe??cies, is char??ac??ter??ised by its roun??ded cross sec??tion. The sole is yel??low or or??ange, as is the mu??cus.
This slug at??tacks from all angles. At ground level it chomps its way through the stems of tender young plants and de??vours the leaves of ve??get??ables such as lettuce. It climbs to munch the high??er leaves, and also the hearts of cauli??flowers. Still not con??tent, it bur??rows deep be??neath the soil, at??tack??ing root crops such as the potato, car??rot and beet??root, and even flower??ing bulbs.