JOHN’S JOURNAL

Tackling the Slugs and Snails

It’s that time of year again and I don’t know where February went but it’s behind us now as we welcome March! Yes it’s a time of year where the days continue to get longer and they can also begin to get warmer signalling plants to wake up from their dormancy, lots of fresh new healthy growth all around, perfect for also the return of the slugs and snails! So let’s have a look at the best way to tackle them!

It’s all about being quick off the blocks with your defences and you can start tackling them from the middle of February but now is also the perfect time to get on it straight away, at the nursery we have lots of plants which they adore with their number one favourite being Hostas, they are still yet to begin shooting so they will often turn to all sorts of other things first. The best method of defence which we find successful at Holden Clough is the application of organic slug pellets, gone are the days of application using chemical based pellets and there are so many alternatives available out there now. It’s all about catching the little critters now before they get busy and lace the garden with eggs for later on in Spring so go round the garden and finely scatter the pellets everywhere, from behind the shed to underneath the decking and around your pots and plants, this way the first few which begin to emerge looking for a snack will find the bait and whether it be a slug or a snail they won’t be coming back! Unlike if you throw them 3 doors down, they’ll eventually crawl their way back!

Slugs and snails can live for upto 7 years, yes I know it’s surprising and the Winter doesn’t kill them off they just lie dormant like so many other insects and creatures, just waiting for Spring to come around like so many of us, yet tackling them head on now will leave the garden clear for several weeks, it’s always worth doing another treatment towards June and again in August this way you will catch any others coming in from the surrounding areas and that’s the answer! So pick a nice dry day and hopefully there’s a few dry days on the way and get busy, then you can look forward to watching your prize Hostas shooting through without the worry of watching the holes appear on their leaves!

On the nursery we are getting ready for Spring on all fronts, carrying out lots of pruning and feeding of the nursery stock and topping up the beds along with lots of other things behind the scenes, we can’t wait for some more weather like we had last weekend and look forward to seeing you soon

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

 

Where do Slugs live?

They love to live in any overgrown parts of your garden out of the sun, dark dank places are top of their list, that’s why when you’re applying your slug pellets it’s not just a case of going around the plants you’re trying to protect but go across your whole garden.

Are snails just as easy to kill as slugs?

Yes they’ll all be attracted to any bait which you put down but getting out there early is key. You can make a note for your diary next year and aim for Valentines day! The 14th February is a great easy date to remember, the only time you wouldn’t put them down is if it happens to have snowed, in this case wait for the temperature to rise above 6 degrees and this is when the plants begin to grow again and the slugs and snails will come out of hibernation

If I don’t have a garden and just pot plants how do I protect them?

You can put a few pellets around the base of each plant or you can also use the copper tape, its like kryptonite for slugs and snails and they can’t physically cross it, so as long as there’s no leaves or stems drooping down to the ground level they won’t be able to get up and attack your plants

 

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

 

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Hosta Francee

Now you’ve addressed your slug issues for 2022 its chance to grow one of the most beautiful Hostas, well known for its attractive variegated leaves it’s perfect for long lasting foliage colour in sun or shade, it will also grow in dry or wet soil so very versatile!