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Renfrewshire, Scotland

Slugs - Not So Much a Question As.....

..... a moan!

I feel I have discussed these things more with gardeners than anything else for several years but nonetheless, still need to express my frustration that nothing is developing fast to control slugs and snails.

Many years ago when I started gardening, reliable and cheap treatments for the pests were available. Mostly the metaldehyde pellets that most of us will remember. Since their withdrawal in 2021 things have become totally unmanageable for me in my garden. A garden in the traditionally wet west of Scotland which is based on heavy clay soil.

In the past few years the warming climate and mild winters seem to have made things much, much worse. The winters do not kill the pests and the lack of chemical control appears to be enabling them to live longer, breed more prolifically and grow in size and type. Slugs are less common now than snails which are also more difficult for preditors to control.

This year I estimate that I have spent around £40/50 on various control measures. The latest being the wool pellets. Two bags cost me £16 and was barely enough to protect a few plants. I did not even attempt to use them aroud veggies which would be prohibitively expensive.

I have tried the iron pellets which cost around £8 per container and it puzzles me how these can possibly be sold as a slug control. They do nothing of the sort but the crows, pigeons, magpies and every other unwanted bird is attracted to the garden.

The wool pellets may be working - a little and with selective plants and areas. It would appear that where a slug is really determined it will find a way around this barrier too.

I have in the past tried the other methods of beer traps, etc but refuse in a garden like mine to have it littered with these containers which in themselves become an eyesore and full of detritus.

So, for me, it seems that without some effective, reliable and cost effective control the already dwindling number of gardeners and gardens will continue unabated until a garden is something of an exception and the privilege of the wealthy and most tolerant and patient of home owners.

So, come on guys at the RHS etc, let's get this sorted and stop pretending that the advice you and other professionals are giving us actually works. For many of us, it simply does not.



I feel exactly to same. My problem is with peat-free compost. The absence of peat in composts is now made up with shreded wood chips and other rubbish. This stuff is no better than the sweepings from my glass floor. The new 'compost' holds neither water or nutrients. I will have to look into producing and sterilising my own mix. Yes it could be argued that we are destroying habitats but we are creating our own in our gardens.

24 Jun, 2024


Why buy wool? I could collect tons of it from the fields around us which are full of sheep. When they are sheared they leave masses of it just lying in the field.
Not sure if it works though.
Torch and a pair of scissors after dark is a cheaper solution. We can kill 200 or so in a very short time.

24 Jun, 2024


Jimmy, you are spot on. We have gardens now of decaying vegetation which makes matters worse. I have just been out this morning and chopped away at plants that I would normally allow a chance to bloom again later in the summer. However, than means much more cover for slugs. So things perenniels that have flowered are being chopped to the ground - not simply deadheaded.

On the peat free compost. This years stuff seems now to dry out yet looks as if it is still damp. Took me weeks to realise that the compost was more like black compressed board than a growing medium. Unfortunately, seeds are baking into the surface of this stuff with no chance of germination.

As for destroying habitats. I am not sure that gardeners could have been the real cause of much destruction. Perhaps greater controls on industrial famring measures are appropriate, but gardens are declining and we cannot cause much significant harm. Is it better to have no gardens? Because the problem appears to me to be more that fewer gardens are remaining as homes transfer to hard landscaped gardens than than traditional ones.

So, maybe ease off on us home gardeners a bit before we disappear altogether.

24 Jun, 2024


Owdboggy. Sadly the fields around me do not always have sheep nor will most gardens.

As for torch etc. Tried it; done it; didn't work! Same went for vine weevils. And let's be honest, this illustrates my point. People will not do this and it would discourage people to garden if that is what it takes.

24 Jun, 2024


The Beer traps do work, as do upturned citrus fruit shells, but what a bind.

24 Jun, 2024


Have you tried the Nematodes for slug control?

25 Jun, 2024


No I have not, Owdboggy. Again I felt that the cost would mount up since they cover a fairly restricted area. So to do a whole garden would be pretty expensive. And, of course, you need to redo it after some months. Maybe you could get away with a single application per year.

25 Jun, 2024

How do I say thanks?

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