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Question from judy jones

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I have friends who had a large guinea-pig run in their garden on their grass. All their food got overrun with slugs (quite disgusting) so they got copper piping and laid it on the grass around the run. Does copper deter slugs? Is it worth putting thin copper wire rings round vulnerable plants? Also, does used coffee sludge from a cafetiere protect plants from slugs?

  • Views: 823
  • Replies: 2
  • Posted: Mon. 7th June 2010 17:39

Re: Slug damage

Reply from Ena Ronayne

Excellent question, slugs are a pain in the butt aren't they?

Copper does definitely work at deterring them however if you only have a few vulnerable plants why not try other alternatives prior to spending money on expensive copper?

Think about encouraging in predators to eat the wretched creatures - birds, beetles, frogs.

If you have a fire during the winter keep aside the wood ash for emergencies and use during the spring summer months around your most precious plants.

Try egg shells, beer, orange peels, garlic, coffee (as you've already suggested) ...

What ever method you use is really dependent on what it is you are trying to prevent them from eating!

If it is your prize hostas whether in pots or in the ground the slugs and snails are only interested in the juicy young leaves so try a plastic cloche which you can make from an old plastic drinks bottle.

Hope this is of help, let me know how you get on....

  • Posted: Thu. 17th June 2010 18:39

Re: Slug damage

Reply from Greenwich

Hi Judy,

I do like the barrier approach too - the fact that you can see the protection in action is a major plus and it's inherently long-lasting too.

Copper piping, or purpose-made rings, or indeed copper of any type works to stop slugs (and snails) by giving them a tiny electrical shock when they try to cross it.

Coffee grounds are supposed to deter them too, though I've never tried using them and have had rather mixed reports from people who have - some say they are great others that they're useless - maybe their slugs have different tastes!

We use some Nemaslug here, which is a mollusc parasite that you water into the ground. It's certainly effective but can prove expensive over anything other than a small garden.

On balance I prefer the barrier approach for length of protection & cost. Crushed egg-shells rely on their spikiness to deter the slugs, but the best barrier material I've found is made by EcoCharlie & it's made from recycled crushed ceramic shards. As well as having that same spiky deterrent effect the ceramic bits absorb the mucous trails and physically stop the slugs and snails from being able to move across it. One good application generally lasts for the whole growing season at least.

You can also set "traps" outside the barrier to collect the slugs. Any flat, moisture-trapping material (wood, stones, even old carpet) will create ideal daytime hiding places that will allow you to collect the slugs. The good old beer/cider/sugar-water trap collection approach works even better.

  • Posted: Tue. 6th July 2010 16:28