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Award-winning gardener Pollyanna Wilkinson uses nematodes in her garden to deter slugs, swearing by them. The pro gardener runs a Garden Design Studio near Hampton Court in Surrey.
She said: “Nematodes seems to be the only (nonchemical) thing that works for slugs, and even then, very wet summers such as last year can prove a battle.”
However, the expert – who showcases her designs on her Instagram account @pollyanna_wilkinson – did say slugs are a simple fact of life for gardeners.
“Sadly it’s just part of gardening and I try and be as zen as possible about it,” she said.
So how does Polly’s slug-busting trick work?
What are nematodes and how do they work?
Nematodes are tiny creatures that lay their eggs in young slugs living under the ground.
They climb into the slug via its natural orifices.
They release bacteria to kill the slugs before laying their eggs, their young then feasting on the body of the slug.
They are a great tool for gardeners for a number of reasons.
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Firstly, they do a lot of the grunt work for you.
They are affordable and one sprinkling of these creatures will work for six weeks.
They can be bought online and look like dry yeast. Just put them in your gardening water and water them wherever you want protection.
They are safe for plants and other animals.
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How to prevent slugs naturally
Copper is said, by some, to cause little shocks to slugs. While the science is inconclusive, many gardeners swear by using copper tape as a barrier, putting it around flower beds and pots.
Predators of slugs can do the work for you when it comes to getting rid of the gastropods.
Encourage birds, frogs, newts, toads, hedgehogs, and other creatures to your garden who will manage your toad problem.
Encourage these creatures by leaving the right food for them in your garden, or providing environments they like, such as ponds or birdbaths.
Slugs don’t like rough surfaces on their soft slimy bellies.
Recycling your eggshells and leaving them around your prize plants will protect them.
Slugs love some plants but really do not like others. This includes lavender, due to its strong smell.
Other plant slugs don’t like include:
- Hydrangea, California poppy
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