Types of Slug Barrier
In contrast to the all out annihilation of the trapping and killing methods I told you about elsewhere, another approach to dealing with the menace of slugs in the garden is to create barriers.
This is more of a passive, defensive tactic; keeping a little more distance between the slug and your precious plants, with the hope that the two can maybe live in harmony.
Types of slug barrier
Slug barriers – like most things when dealing with slugs – can take on many different and ingenious shapes and forms. They do however, fall into two main categories:
Something the slug cannot cross, ranging from protecting a single plant with a plastic bottle to encompassing a whole section of garden with a copper strip.
The sort of thing the slug could cross but prefers not to because it’s unpleasant and uncomfortable. An excessive amount of mucus, or slime, is required to traverse it, and this isn’t good for the slug.
The second of these can also fall broadly into two categories:
Rough scratchy surfaces
Something like grit, or the old favourite, crushed egg shells, that are painful and difficult to cross.
Things like ash, sawdust, or diatomaceous earth that dehydrate and dry out the slug.
Of course, some materials – like ash or diatomaceous earth – are both rough and possess desiccating properties. Others – such as a barrier of entangled fur or hair – don’t fit neatly into any single category.
Remember that the slug’s slime is ‘hygroscopic’, meaning it absorbs moisture. So in wet weather the slime is much more effective, allowing the slug to tackle most rough surfaces with apparent ease.
Did you know...
A slug’s slime enables it to glide without difficulty over glass shards, or even the edge of a razor blade.
A relatively new type of slug barrier comes in the form of copper. The slug’s slime causes a chemical reaction that creates a small electric current, and the slug hates the resulting mild electric shock... Ouch!
Many new copper based deterrents are now available, including:
Self adhesive copper tape to stick around your pots and containers, or to create a slug barrier around just about anything. As well as keeping slugs at bay, I think the copper tape adds a touch of ‘class’ to an otherwise ordinary container.
Slip the copper ring around single or small groups of plants. Available in various sizes, these rings clip together so you can easily fit them around established plant stems. This also allows you to join them together to form a larger barrier.
This is a clever idea; copper feet to support your pots and containers. Not only do they look attractive and stop slugs from reaching the plants inside, they ensure good ventilation and drainage for your containers too.
With all barrier methods, thoroughly check the area to be protected for any slugs and snails first. The idea is to keep them out; not trap them inside!
The Gardener’s Year
Dad always said to me, “Gardening is tied to the seasons, and being a successful gardener is all about planning ahead.”
You need to know what you should be doing, when, and why, so what needs doing in December?
I think this book would make an excellent Christmas present for a garden enthusiast. Imagine them sitting by the log fire on a cold wet January evening, planning how to make their garden the best ever this spring and summer...
What do you want to do now
The Gardener’s Year
by Alan Titchmarsh
What to do in December?
Gardening is intimately linked to the seasons, and being a successful gardener is all about planning ahead.
Alan Titchmarsh gives you month by month advice and shows you what you should be doing, when, and why.
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Slugs leave their own individual scent trail so they can find their way home