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How to deal with slugs and snails

How to deal with slugs and snails
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No sooner have the fruits (or vegetables) of your labour appeared, so too have the slugs and snails. You can tell if you’ve got a problem by the irregularly shaped holes in the leaves and the sparkly slime trails left all across your planted beds.

But how do you deal with these hungry pests? Well, thankfully there are plenty of solutions, but first, you need to find which one is causing all the damage.

Let’s find out how to deal with slugs and snails:

Slugs or snails?

You can tell whether you’ve got slugs or snails by the type of damage and where it occurs. Both leave slime trails everywhere, but snails are really good at scaling vertical surfaces – so if you have something being demolished in a hanging basket, it’s probably a snail.

Snails are also quite fussy eaters. They tend to feast on the softer bits between the ribs of a leaf, leaving a plant skeleton behind.

Slugs, on the other hand, tend to stay around the ground level and eat everything and anything. Keeled slugs are particularly annoying because they live underground and eat the roots. Common in damp soils, they’ll ruin crops of potatoes by tunnelling into them and eating out large holes.

How to get rid of them, responsibly and safely.

Nocturnal patrols

Slugs and snails feed at night, so you can go out with a torch and pick them off the plants under attack.

Rough barrier

A common treatment for slugs and snails is to create a barrier around your plants that is uncomfortable for them to cross – like sharp grit or egg shells. If you are going to try this you need to make sure the barrier is at least 5cm wide and has no gaps. And if it’s a really tasty plant, even a rough barrier won’t stop them.

Salt barrier

Plants in pots can be protected by greasing the rim with Vaseline mixed with salt. As they slither up the side of the pot they take up the salt – which dehydrates and stops them.

Food and drink

Buried jars of beer are irresistible to s