The dry spring/summer of 2017 may have seen off the attack of slugs and snails temporarily but the wet weather throughout November, December and January combined with the lack of hard frosts have provided perfect breeding conditions for a revival in gastropod numbers. A bumper year for slugs, together with the HSE’s stipulated limits on saleable pack sizes due to be enforced on metaldehyde slug pellets later this year, raise concerns over how we protect our precious garden plants. So it is time to give some thought to how you plan to keep slugs and snails under control in 2018.
Having said all of the above Metaldehyde pellets in 1Kg tubs are still available currently at £3.99 or on a multibuy. But what do you plan to use when these value packs run out? Smaller pack sizes will be available but the cost of packaging means the retail price will not provide the same levels of economy – not necessarily the most important factor to some gardeners but one to consider nonetheless.
Ferric phosphate is a widely used alternative, an organic product which requires much smaller doses of pellet to be applied. It can be used around edible plants and because of the way the slug reacts on eating the product there are no slime trails or dehydrated slugs to be found scattered around your border. They take themselves off to die in the privacy of their burrows. At £6.99 for a 700g tub however, you do have to weigh up where your priorities lie – economy versus wildlife-friendly gardening.
If even ferric phosphate just doesn’t provide you with enough confidence in its effectiveness or the integrity of its environmentally friendly claims, then more mechanical barriers to these critters might be more for you. Slug Gone Wool Pellets placed around the plant swell with the moisture from the soil and form a felt-like mat making the journey for the slug to the plant difficult. As it is a physical barrier with no chemical additives, this is a product that is truly organic and 100% natural. A 3.5 litre bag sells at £5.99. In terms of economic value, it really depends on how large the neck of the plant is and how large a “mat” you need to create around each one. A bag this size says it protects 6 x 10in diameter pots. We do stock larger tubs for those who need greater coverage than this.
The message is – plan ahead to keep these creatures at bay.