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16 messages
07/06/2012 at 16:53

Are all slugs and snails found in the garden destructive?

I seem to recall reading somewhere there are slugs that prey on other slugs and snails and would hate to think I am killing the good ones as well

07/06/2012 at 22:22

The main slugs that I have a problem with ar the Arion lusitanicus, which have many common names, among them murderslug, Spanish slug, and others. It is invasive and prolific, breeding very rapidly and eating everything in sight - even each other. Some people snip them in half, then cover the carcass in poison, and other Spanish slugs come along and eat those, then crawl off and die. The friendlier snails, shelled varieties, I leave. Yellow or Blue Ducks seem to like the Spanish slugs as a tasty meal, and many people over here in Sweden have them for just that purpose. Might be difficult to get ahold of in GB, especially since the Svensk Blåanka (literally translates to Swedish Blueduck) isn't the same as the variety of the same common name found abroad. Anyways, that's my two bits worth, and I wish you all the best of luck. 

08/06/2012 at 07:46

I don't tend to kill anything in the garden, even the slugs and snails which feed a whole host of other critters.  I use gravel, copper tape, egg shells etc to stop the wholesale destruction of my favourite plants.  By chance, as it has a path running past it, I put all my young plants by the pond to harden off and none of them have been nibbled.  I'm presuming as the pond is home to frogs and newts and is visited by birds and hedgehogs, any slugs are quickly despatched

08/06/2012 at 08:39

I'm lucky here, mallards visit the garden regularly and do their bit but the key defenders of my hostas here seem to be less glamorous creatures such as pygmy shrews, ground beetles and newts. There's a small population of slow worms but oddly enough no frogs or toads apart from the frog spawn I introduced this year from some evaporating ponds nearby.

Boltgirl is right to suggest ducks - all domestic breeds will eat them. Expect a bit of impact though as they do like creating muddy puddles and although far less destructive than chickens, those webbed feet are great for trampling delicate plants! Properly handled they're terrific pets and breeds such as khaki campbells will lay an egg a day year round more or less.

08/06/2012 at 13:22

I totally forgot to mention what I saw on Gardeners' World, from last year, I think. Rachel visited a pair of hostaholics, June Colley and John Baker, who had something like 1300 different kinds of hostas, which were all in pristine condition. Their recipe for success was garlic - apparently, it serves as a mild nerve poison for slugs, so they leave the leaves alone, and it kills the eggs, when you spray it on the soil. The recipe for making the garlic spray was as follows: 

Put a whole garlic in a plastic bag, smash it with a rolling pin or other heavy tool. 

Add the smashed garlic to 1L of water, let boil on the stove for 5 minutes. 

Let it cool, then sieve it, then bottle the garlic water and store in the fridge. 

Add 1 tblsp/1L of water in a spraybottle as needed, preferably a long nozzled one so you easily can get in under the leaves to spray the soil. 

09/06/2012 at 19:04

has anyone tried it to see if it really works my garden is full of slugs and snails l think there must a least more than three kinds of snail

09/06/2012 at 19:09

has anyone tried it to see if it really works? my garden is full of slugs and snails l think there must a least more than three kinds of snail

09/06/2012 at 22:53
I visited a garden in the National Garden Scheme last year. They used the garlic brew method and they had fantastic hostas. However, the owner of the garden also said that at the start of the season, he relied on slug pellets, and also a good pair of scissors and a torch.
09/08/2012 at 11:12
What do you do with all the slugs that can be collected at night? I hate killing things and will leave the snails alone.
09/08/2012 at 19:32

I put the slugs right in a bucket with saturated salt water. They die right away, so I figure this is the most humane way to get rid of them. I am lucky to have the sea right nearby, so I empty the bucket into it and the crabs get a good meal, too. If you don't have the sea nearby for a nice supply of salt water, I suggest buying a large bag of salt, the kind you use for the road in winter, and take a bucket of that on your slughunt. The salt will stil kill them immediately. 

If you, like me, are a bit squeamish about picking the slugs up (they're really, really slimy), then the best tool I've found is the big wooden tweezer-like vices you use to pick up toast (but get a separate pair for the slugs!). 

I agree that it's very hard to kill even slugs, but with the ones we've got here, they breed worse than rabbits, and take over everything if you don't get rid of them. Last year, I couldn't walk barefoot at all, cause every few steps I'd be stepping on a slug!

11/08/2012 at 18:50

I have copied down Carol Klein's advice from Gardeners' World on Friday for slug resistant plants - a most welcome feature.  Here they are:

aguilegia

agastache 'Blackadder' giant hyssop

astilbe

digitalis foxgloves

geranium

helleorus hybridus lenten rose

knautia macedonica 'Red Knight'

penstemon heterophyllus 'Heavenly Blue' foothill penstemon

ranunculae - buttercup family (aconites)

rosaceae (alchemilla, crataegus, cotoneaster, prunus, rosa, rubus, sorbus)

sedum 'Jose Aubergine' ice plant

sidalcea 'Elsie Heugh' prairie mallow

 

Happy slug free gardening

16/08/2012 at 20:00

I can vouch for the fact that the garlic spray really works . I have used it for three years now and have beautiful hostas no holes in any of them.  I spray once a week with the solution and whoopee no sl;ugs or snails.  I also have wto hedgehogs I feed every night so don't want to use slug pellets

17/08/2012 at 20:04
Dont worry - its a bit of a myth hedgehogs gorge themselves on slugs . They only make up around 5% of their diet. They much prefer other things like insects and beetles.

Slugs arent good for hedghogs as slugs carry lungworm, which causes the hog to die a slow painful death from pneumonia.

I do use pellets very sparingly in my garden, because despite my garden being frequented by three hogs, I have millions of slugs. What I dont get by catching by hand (in glove) and putting in the green recycling bin, eat the pellets, crawl back underground and dont come back. I use ferrous pellets as they are supposidly less toxic to wildlife and can be used near food crops.

I believe slugs that are grey in colour and have a pattern like leopard skin (they are sometimes called leopard slugs, would you believe), are to be encouraged because they tend to eat only dead stuff and other slugs (orange and black ones).

Beware if picking up slugs and if doing so wear gloves or wash your hands straight afterwards. They do carry parasites that can cause parasite-induced meningitis in humans.
17/08/2012 at 22:22

Thanks very much for all the info re slugs and hedgehogs.  I feed the hogs every night with nwildlife food from the petshop supplemented by bits of chicken and dried fruit. They seem to enjoy it as the bowl is cleared every night.  They also like a drink of water my bowl is emptied most nights

 

16/09/2012 at 11:17

one friendly sort of way to get rid of slugs is to put a few dog biscuits down and they will come each night to the same spot ,now you can rid of them like you wish or the local fox /  Hedgehog   will eat them and the remaining biscuits.slugs are an on going battle as they will of laid their eggs in soil  so dig around and if you see any white dot like eggs feed them to your fish.

16/09/2012 at 12:26

http://www.cf.ac.uk/biosi/staffinfo/wocs2.html

Useful and interesting stuff on here about slugs, the good(ish) the bad and the very ugly.  Also developments in controlling the damage.

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