As soon as the first leaves of dahlias appear, they come slimed: Slugs, and really a lot of them. For them, it seems to be THE treat in the spring. To prevent your dahlias from being gnawed off, we’ve put together the best tips against slugs.
Snails can completely eat away seedlings and fresh greenery within one night. It is really annoying when – with a lot of effort – pre-pulled dahlias are left with nothing but a sad skeleton of leaves after planting in the open ground. So you do not have to experience this, you can prepare for the slug invasion and take appropriate countermeasures.
What to do against slugs?
The best way: Starting in March, you can permanently control slugs with nematodes. How to do that, you will learn here…
We have listed the really nasty tips (cutting up, scalding, sprinkling with salt…) here, – and advise against following them
From spring, the slugs show up again in the garden. Whether young plants or fresh seedlings, everything is at the top of the menu for the hungry slugs and is eaten mercilessly. What you can do against the slimy glutton.
In southern Europe, they have almost displaced the native great slug, but they are slowly becoming a nuisance in the north as well. Although they are very similar in appearance to the great slug, they taste bitter and are therefore largely spurned by natural enemies such as blackbirds, thrushes, mice and moles. Only hedgehogs and toads take on the Spanish invasion, but there are not so many of them left.
- If you want to make life difficult for slugs, you should start with the condition of the soil: A humus-rich, fine-crumb subsoil is not only fertile, it also provides few cracks and crevices for slugs to crawl into. Crop protection experts recommend hoeing the soil during dry periods to remove the moisture that slugs need. Watering should be done in the early morning.
- Since the main task of slugs is to eat plant and animal waste, garden owners should refrain from surface composting of areas (the compost should be completely buried!). Also, the compost pile – here usually lays an important source of slug infestation – must be located far away from beds that need protection.
- Lawns form a good obstacle if the grass is kept short and the cuttings are removed. Bed borders of aromatic herbs, on the other hand, are not a barrier, certainly not in high moisture conditions.
- There are a number of plants that slugs give a wide berth. Here you will find our list.
- The smart thing to do is to control them with nematodes: These tiny nematodes (Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita) invade slugs and destroy them as a parasite. To achieve a real noticeable containment of the snail population, treatment with nematodes should be done over several times. The nematodes are commercially available in small sachets (for example, from re-natur). They are added to the water and thus applied to the soil. Attention: Nematodes are specialized. There are nematodes against slugs, but also those that attack only pests or caterpillars or woodlice, etc… Therefore, there are many different nematodes on the market.
- Help with an invasion
- Once the slug infestation has broken out, the only thing that really helps is picking them up.
You could also spread slug pellets*. Here, however, only one is recommended: Ferramol (from Neudorff). All other products in the trade are dangerous for other animals. *NO, we advise completely against all products!
Attractants like the famous beer trap, potato peels or cat food should be used with caution, because they also attract the slugs from the neighborhood.
An old home remedy recommends dousing the captured snails and eggs with boiling hot water: More info at this link. (We don’t do THAT either, of course!)