‘Shrugs them all off’: Always use the ‘four P’s’ to stop pests ‘wreaking havoc’ in gardens

Gardeners’ World: Expert shares tips for slug control

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Hours of work in the garden can be ruined in spring when slugs and snails feed on young plants. Damage also doesn’t stop with foliage, the pests also feed on fruits such as strawberries and tomatoes, causing gardeners to lose crops. Luckily, there are methods to try and prevent them from damaging the garden, according to Gardening expert David Hurrion.

In a video for Gardeners’ World Magazine, David advised gardeners on how they can control slugs and snails organically in their garden using the “four P’s”.

So, what are the sorts of things that can be done to protect plants?

David answered: “If you want to garden organically, there are four P’s that I like to consider and the first one is prevention. 

“Choose plants that are tough and resilient and aren’t going to get munched to death.

“Feeding plants with something like this Vitax Q4 will toughen up the leaves of your plants. You can also use a plant invigorator. 

“Sprayed on to the plants, it toughens the foliage and it also makes them much more able to cope with all sorts of pests and shrugs them all off.”

The second P is “physical barriers”, so things like “crushed seashells”.

The gardening expert said: “It’s a really good sharp material that slugs and snails don’t like crawling over. 

“You could also use coarse grit or coarse sand as well. 

“Copper induces an electrical current to flow through it. 

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“And the last method is to use one of these gels. This jelly-like substance, you squirt it around your plants, the slugs and snails won’t go through it.”

David’s third P to getting rid of slugs and snails is predators.

He said: “If you feed the birds in your garden, they’ll visit your garden regularly and they’ll be on the lookout for live food as well. 

“Hedgehogs eat slugs and snails and also frogs and toads.”

Lastly, the fourth P is to “pick off the slugs and snails that you find”.

David said: “Slugs and snails can wreak havoc on garden plants.”

The gardening pro named “jumbo slugs” as the “number one pest problem” in gardens.

He said: “If I was to ask you what the number one pest problem was in your garden, you’d probably name these little ones: molluscs.”

Pointing to the larger slugs, David said: “These are the ones that do the most damage. These are the slugs, but could I just put a good word in for the really big slug? 

“These great big, huge slugs are the ones that break down woody matter, and they won’t eat your little baby plants. 

“It’s these here, the big jumbo slugs when they’re babies. Those are the ones that will do the most damage.”

Last month, the Government announced the ban on metaldehyde slug control pellets.

As of now, the only type of slug pellet approved for use in gardens is those with the active ingredient ferric phosphate.

It can be used around vulnerable plants, vegetables and young shoots on herbaceous plants.

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