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Slugs: A perennial problem

Slugs: A perennial problem

10 Feb 2021 17:00:00 Ruth

 

It is about this time of year, frost and snow on the ground that we start looking for those first signs of spring to encourage us through the last of winter. I have really enjoyed hunting out all of the hundreds of crocus we planted in the autumn and watching their little heads appear. It is also the time of year I go around to check on the first shoots of my perennials. Not all are showing signs of life yet, but last week's inspection showed the Ligularia showing little pink tipped leaves… and horror of horrors already signs of munching on some unprotected plants!

 

abseiling slug     slug ring on Ligularia

 

I always leave my tender perennials like Ligularia, Hosta, Delphinium etc in a slug ring year round. It has several benefits… Firstly I can find them when foliage dies back, and secondly they should be protected from day one of spring from any slugs and snails searching for soft leaves to munch. Slug rings genuinely do work to keep your plants from being munched, but only if there are no little beasties or eggs trapped in the ring with the plant.

 

I was amazed when starting in this business that slugs and snails can abseil... Not just a little way either, they can drop 4m from the roof to my deck! Thus it is about this time of year that I go round and have a quick check that all my perennials are not sharing their slug rings with any invaders that managed to get in last year when all the foliage was out creating sluggy bridges. 

 

 

 

 

You can watch the video above on how to go about checking or fitting a slug ring to a perennial, or follow these steps:

 

Press the Slug Ring into the soil around the plant. Make sure that:

  • there are no slugs or snails trapped inside. Have a good root around to be certain, because they won't be able to get out. In the first few days check that you haven’t missed any.
  • the rings are scrunched into the soil a little way to leave no gaps underneath for a slug to sneak through. Wet the soil first if it’s too hard.
  • there are no leaves overhanging the ring and touching the soil to make a bridge for slugs and snails to cross.
  • foliage doesn't overhang the ring from outside, allowing snails to abseil in.

     

 

And then it's just time to wait for spring and summer and the fabulous show that awaits us! This is my Ligularia dentata, sunshine in the shade!

 

Ligularia dentata

 

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