Gardeners’ World: Expert discusses slugs and snails
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Every British gardener will come across pests at some point when they’re tending their plants. Common garden pests in the UK include aphids such as greenfly and blackfly, vine weevils, slugs and snails, capsids, scale nymphs and earwigs. While it may be tempting to grab a chemical spray bottle, this could cause more harm than good.
Owner and founder of Gardening Express Chris Bonnett shared two “kitchen cupboard” remedies with Express.co.uk for ousting pests.
Chris, who established Gardening Express in the late 90s, said slugs and snails have been “quite prevalent” this year due to the weather being quite damp.
For getting rid of aphids, Chris suggested using washing up liquid.
He explained: “If you want a kitchen cupboard remedy, it’s washing up liquid diluted with water in spray bottles.
“Sprayed onto the aphids, it will block their pores and kill them.
“They will drop off the plants. That’s a good old-fashioned remedy that’s not using loads of nasty pesticides.”
The gardening expert said the hack is “especially good” if you find you’re getting aphids on your tomato plants and crops.
If slugs and snails are the problem, Chris recommended using a “beer trap”.
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Beer traps involve using a container of some kind – a recycled bottle or a food container – and beer.
Chris continued: “For slugs and snails, you can use a beer trap.
“You can get an old margarine tub and cut a hole in the top and half fill it with beer.
“Leave it in the beds and borders and they will be attracted to the beer and drown in it.”
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Slugs and snails love feasting on leaves, stems and flowers, but they especially love new growth on herbaceous plants.
Containers and pots can often be targeted by slugs and snails, leading to widespread plant devastation.
To stop plants making a move for your potted plants, Chris suggested using copper tape.
He said: “Another good one is copper tape.
“You can put a ring of that around the top of the pot so slugs and snails, when they are crawling up to eat hostas or something that’s their favourite meal, it carries a small electric charge.
“They touch the copper strip and it repels them.
“It’s almost like an electric fence for plants against slugs and snails.”
Slugs are repelled by the copper because there is a reaction between the mucous they produce and the copper itself.
Larger snails may be able to crawl over it but you can buy copper tape with a serrated edge to ensure this doesn’t happen.
You can buy copper tape for as little as £3.49 from Amazon or £1.89 from eBay.
Find out more natural ways to deter pests here.
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