Protect plants from slugs and snails in ‘four core ways’ using natural methods

Monty Don shares ways to stop slugs eating young plants

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There are various ways to control and eradicate pests in the garden, but it is always worth going down the natural route. Using natural products or methods are not only better for the environment, but also tend to be cheaper than chemical solutions. spoke to Louise Findlay-Wilson, gardening expert and founder of popular gardening blog Blooming Lucky, about her top tips on how to “minimise the impact” of slugs and snails in the garden.

She outlined there are “four core ways to tackle slugs and snails”.

Choosing the right plants

“First up has to be choosing plants which aren’t as vulnerable to them,” Louise explained.

“For instance, while hostas are often thought of as absolute slug magnets, I have 17 of them and they rarely get troubled.

“That’s because I tend to go for varieties with thicker leaves – they are much harder for a slug or snail to damage.”

Feed your plants

“Another tip is to feed your plants. It’s really logical when you think about it but the healthier your plants are, the thicker and stronger their leaves often are – making them more able to cope with a munching mollusc,” the gardening expert explained.

Use physical barriers

Louise’s third tip involved putting down a physical barrier to prevent slugs and snails from getting at your plants.

She said: “There are a number of things worth trying such as crushed eggshells, grit or sand – all of which are uncomfortable for a slug or snail to crawl across.

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“Similarly, if you are putting a layer of mulch down on your garden, then a good one which deters slugs and snails too is called Strulch.

“It’s made from straw and smells sort of marmitey.”

Louise warned this product can cost more than other similar products, but “one mulch with it will last for two years”.

“I’m not sure whether it’s the scratchy surface or the smell which puts slugs and snails off, but it does seem to work,” the gardening expert explained.

“So, I use this particularly on my beds which have lots of plants which slugs or snails like.”

Trap them with beer

Another natural and cheap product Louise mentioned was beer. But this is a controversial option.

The gardening expert said: “As part of this process of deterrents many may think that a beer trap is a solution.

“It’s the yeasty smell of beer which really attracts those pesky slugs.

“However, while I’m a real fan of kitchen cupboard remedies, I’m not sure beer traps don’t attract more slugs into a garden than are already there.”

Attract wildlife to the garden

Lastly, Louise recommended attracting more wildlife into your garden to deter slugs and snails.

She said: “The fourth and final way to tackle slugs and snails is to have a garden which attracts lots of wildlife – birds and hedgehogs.

“Nature has a wonderful way of balancing things out – so if you encourage those natural predators into your garden, you will find you really don’t have a major slug or snail problem.”

There are many ways to do this, from building bird boxes to making feed balls.

You can also allow your garden to grow a little as various wildlife are fond of a wilder habitat.

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