Method to prevent slugs eating young plants this spring

Clodagh McKenna reveals tip for getting rid of slugs

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Slugs are active throughout the year, unlike snails which are dormant during autumn and winter. Springtime is when slugs can particularly become a problem, when gardeners are planting new growth outside. Luckily, there are methods to try and prevent them from damaging the garden, including using eggshells.

James Partridge at Greenshop said: “While you might think of slugs and snails as greedy predators feasting on your veg patch, it’s important to remember that these pesky bugs are also prey for lots of other garden wildlife, including birds, frogs, toads, hedgehogs and even certain beetles.

“So, by encouraging more of these creatures to visit your garden, you can control slugs and snails naturally.

“Birds will be enticed into your garden by a feeder or bird table with some seed or nuts mix.

“This also provides a vantage point where birds can spot their prey, so try to position it near the plants you want to protect.

“You can also consider adding a pond to provide a haven for frogs and toads. While encouraging predators is effective, it can take a bit of time to work.”

With March a busy month for UK gardeners, it is important to know how to protect plants before it is too late. 

If the pests are causing damage, the expert recommended adding some eco-friendly physical barriers.

James said: “Horticultural wool can be laid around the plant to deter slugs and snails, they struggle to move over the dry, fibrous texture.

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“They will struggle with sharp or rough textured surfaces, so adding some crushed eggshells or gravel mix around the base of your plants can act as a barrier.”

To use eggshells, make sure they are clean and dry, remembering to remove the inner membrane before scattering them outside.

If the weather is forecast to rain, eggshells aren’t the best deterrent as they must remain crunchy in order for them to be effective.

However, egg shells will only act as a deterrent and won’t stop them from getting to a plant they really want to eat.

The expert noted: “If you’re getting really fed up, picking pests off and moving them.

“Slugs and snails tend to be most active around dusk, when their natural predators aren’t around. So, this is a good time to get out and pluck them off your prized plants.

“Pop them into a container and move them to your compost heap, where they can munch on old cuttings instead.”

It may also be worth companion planting if slugs are becoming a real nuisance. This involves planting strong scents near appetising plants for slugs to help them stay away.

Gardeners should try planting herbs near crops to naturally deter the pests. Try lavender, mint and rosemary to begin with as they are through to be effective.

Many Britons also swear by using a beer trap to capture slugs as it is thought they are attached to the yeast odours found in the beverage.

However, this will kill the slugs which isn’t the best method to get rid of them as they can be beneficial for the garden.

This includes breaking down garden debris as well as being a natural food source for many insects, birds and frogs.

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