Feb 4th, 2013
There’s not much going on in my garden right now so I’ll carry on with my ‘Master Gardener‘ series.
This week on the course we had a lunchtime speaker come in to talk about slugs and snails. Part of the talk was about how to reduce their numbers in the garden but mostly it was about getting to know slugs and snails better. Because the more you know about something, the better your chances of fighting it. So here goes:
There are lots of types of slugs. The larger ones may look mean but in truth it’s the smallest ones that tend to do the most damage.
If you see a leaf with a ragged-edged hole it’s most likely slug damage. If you see a leaf with a smooth-edged hole it’s most likely a caterpillar or vine weevil . Slugs eat with a dragging motion, hence the ragged edges.
Slugs are hermaphrodites. When they mate both slugs become pregnant. A slug can produce 500 eggs per season.
Their eggs are clear and gradually go opaque. The slugs keep the eggs inside them until there is 25 per cent moisture. Then they lay them.
Slugs avoid eating:
Ferns, Ivy, Sweet Woodruff and Foxgloves (among others)
Slugs love eating:
Hostas (but not the blue, quilted kind for some reason)
Lettuce, Daffodils, Lilies, Strawberries and Primroses (among others!)
They live under rocks, mulch and anywhere it’s moist.
They like to eat at night, or when it’s wet.
Barriers like copper strips, coffee grounds, egg shells.
Citrus or Melon halves then trap them.
Lettuce under a board then trap them.
Nematodes watered into the soil.
Garlic, Cinnamon, Copper
Slug bait is exactly what it says it is, bait! The slugs move towards it so don’t put it all near your plants. Put it between their home and your plants. In other words find out where they live!
Research shows that it’s best to bait every two weeks because slugs do have some form of memory and can remember where you put it.
Slugs can see about six feet, and they can smell about three feet.
Chances are you’re using too much bait. You only need a light sprinkle. Because they are attracted to it they will seek it out.
And remember slug bait is toxic so only use it as a last resort and away from children, pets and ideally birds.