Slug control

Jean Vernon has five ways to protect your plants from pesky slugs.

The short answer to the problem of slugs is integrated control and what that means is using several different methods to protect your plants. Choose from the many weapons in the war on slugs to create the best result. Whatever you use, consider the impact of your control method not just on the immediate environment but think about the bigger picture too. Poisoned pellets are highly toxic to children, pets and wildlife; there are many viable alternatives that offer a much safer and equally effective control method.

You can help keep pesky slugs under control by harnessing the power of nature. Feed the birds, encourage the hedgehogs with suitable habitats: hedges, houses and leaf litter. Build a pond (with shallow slopes for escape) to provide water for wildlife and breeding sites for slug predators such as frogs and toads.

Slug X trap
Slug X

Traps: Slug-X from Garland

Traps can be very effective in the war on slugs. You can make your own, laced with beer but purpose made traps are better as they don’t tend to catch beneficial ground beetles. I tested slug traps for the Daily Telegraph many moons ago, and in one night I collected 147 slimy slugs in the Slug-X. It’s an ingenious device combining the beery atmosphere inside with little spa tubs to hold the beer. Not for the faint-hearted as you have to empty regularly, but a great performer and it’s cheaper these days and the very same design. Price £ 7.20.

Nemaslug
Nemaslug

Nematodes: Nemaslug

Nature has the answer to most of our woes and slug control is no exception. Nemaslug Slug Killer is a concentrated mix of naturally occurring nematodes (tiny microscopic worm-like creatures) that live in your garden soil. There are dozens of species, but one of them exploits slug bodies to complete its lifecycle, and in the process kills the slugs. They do this anyway in healthy garden soil, but you can accelerate the process by introducing them in large concentrations by watering a solution of Nemaslug onto your garden soil. Safe for all other creatures, it’s the perfect slug control as the infected beasts burrow before they die, removing their carcasses from the garden. Price around £ 13.99 for enough to treat 40m2.

Slug Gone
Vitax

Barriers: Slug Gone from Vitax

If you can keep the slugs away from your plants then you can protect them from being munched. Barriers need vigilance. If a leaf overhangs them, or they are breached then they stop working. Remember too that some slugs are soil dwelling and can burrow underneath. Vitax Slug Gone is a good all rounder as it feeds, mulches and deter slugs. Price around £7.50 for 1 litre pack from Green Gardener.

Sluggo
Neudorff

Safe pellets: Sluggo from Neudorff

The Neudorff Sluggo contains a natural active ingredient, Iron (III) Phosphate that stops slugs and snails feeding immediately, causing them to retreat to their burrows and die. Uneaten pellets biodegrade adding beneficial Iron Phosphate to the soil. It’s a win-win and safe for wildlife too. Price around £7 for 1kg.

slug control
QVC

Wildlife friendly: Richard Jackson's Slug and Snail Control

Not all slug pellets are bad, unless you are a slug of course. Try these Richard Jackson’s Slug and Snail Control pellets. Rain resistant, advanced formula pellets, made from Ferric phosphate and designed to use safely around flowers, fruit, herbs and vegetables indoors and also in greenhouses. They are certified for organic use and eventually break down releasing nutrients that feed the plants too. A little goes a long way, so the 1.2kg tub will last for ages. Simply scatter sparingly around your plants. Price £12 for 1.2kg from QVC Gardening.
Slug X trap
Nemaslug
Slug Gone
Sluggo
slug control