20 January 2021
Protecting Your Garden From Slugs – Some Things you Didn’t Know!
Every gardener knows the havoc an infestation of slugs can have in the garden. Some people may think slugs are horrible slimy things which is understandable. But like so many creatures, when you look a bit closer, there are a lot of fascinating facts you should know about them. Did you know that the average slug will consume an amazing 28oz of plant material in a growing season?
Salt, vinegar and coffee grinds have all been methods used to kill slugs. Many people think these methods – along with slug pellets which can alter the natural balance of the garden – are cruel and prefer to use more natural and less harmful methods.
Using nematodes to control slugs has proved effective in organic farming. Nematodes are roundworms and account for 80% of multicellular animal life on earth. There are 20,000 different species, and the phasmarhabditis or ph-nematodes are natural parasites of burrowing slugs (not slugs that live on the surface). The ph-nematode penetrates the body of the slug and eats it from the inside.
Nematodes must be applied to wet ground so they can burrow into the soil and find their prey. The ground must be watered regularly for the nematodes to flourish. You should see a decline in the slug population between 3 and 8 weeks. Nematodes don’t live long and are highly sensitive to heat, cold and UV radiation, so you will need to repeat the process at regular intervals. This can prove expensive, particular when used on larger plots.
Make Friends with Natural Predators
Attract natural predators to your garden by planting flowers and plants they like. Beetles, hedgehogs, toads, songbirds, and moles are natural predators of slugs.
Slug barriers block the entrances slugs use to get to your plants. Metal barriers work best, but you can get plastic ones. Slug collars to put around the base of your plants are also effective.
If slugs can hide in your beds, they will. Removing any material that enables this, such as flower pots and wooden slats, helps prevent this. If you can, try to avoid using loam soil because it is usually pitted with holes and crevices in which the slugs can hide.
Know Your Slugs
Some slugs are beneficial to your garden. The leopard slug, so called because of its black and white markings, is a natural predator of the Spanish slug. Encourage them to settle in your garden; they aren’t a threat to your plants.