How to protect plants from slugs and snails

Slugs are one of the most frustrating things for gardeners to deal with. You spend hours in the garden planting, carefully designing flower displays and growing your own vegetables, only to wake up to glistening trails on the floor and holes in leaves. Rather than let them take over your garden there are a few simple techniques in order to keep them away from your plants. 

Go snail hunting at night

Although this isn't the most fun task, you may have to hunt the snails individually and remove them from the garden. The best time to do this is at night as this is when the slugs are at their most active. Hunting them at this time will make it a lot easier for you to find them. Don't forget to look underneath some of your broader leaves, under plant pots and in moist areas, as these are some of the slug's favourite places. 

Lure them into humane traps 

You can entice slugs into empty flower pots or cardboard boxes by using food such as cabbage leaves or dry pet food to attract them. 

Encourage natural predators 

Bring birds, hedgehogs or even ducks into your garden. By doing this they can solve your slug problem in a natural way. 

There are a lot more methods to trap and kill slugs, however sometimes it is better to deter the slugs in the first place rather than having to kill them. Here are some great methods to try and deter slugs. Although they may not keep them all away, you should see the number of them decrease significantly.

• Grow plants that will deter slugs - certain herbs like ginger, garlic and mint do not attract slugs. Vegetables like kale and sprouting broccoli have the same effect, as do certain flowers like violets and foxglove.

• Keep your garden dry - you need to ensure your plants and grass get sufficient water but try not to overwater or create a lot of areas that will become damp for long periods of time. These are the areas that quickly attract slugs. 

• Make a copper barrier - when slugs try to cross a copper barrier, they receive an electric shock which stops them travelling over them. Use copper foil strips around the base of plant pots or around the most vulnerable plants as a layer of protection 

• Plant eggshells - placing eggshells in your soil can also deter slugs due to the sharp edges. However, be aware that this is only a temporary fix. The eggshells become damp quickly when it rains, and they will not be sharp anymore. The great thing about eggshells is they will quickly decompose into the soil, so you don't have to bother removing them.

Although there are many effective methods of deterring or removing slugs from your garden, there are some methods you should NOT try, these include:

• Salt: pouring salt on the slugs or snails has been a popular method, however, this does not only kill them (rather than just removing them), the salt can all end up in the soil which can damage the plants that grow in it. 

• Slug pellets - although you can get organic pellets, they can still be dangerous to other forms of wildlife, so it is best to avoid them if possible.

If you need more help or advice on garden care, then please contact us. Boston Bulbs Wholesale is a privately-owned business with over 35 years' experience of importing only the finest quality horticultural products throughout Europe and from farmers and growers all over the UK. Whether you're a landscaper, nursery, local authority, wholesaler, retailer, private business or individual gardener, just give us a call on 01775 769 333 or visit / for help with flower bulbs, grass seed and more.

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