Protecting New Shoots From Slugs and Snails

Idea sent in by Sandra (Lincolnshire) - March 2012

At this time of year new shoots and emerging bulbs are very attractive to slugs and snails, who are just emerging from their winter hibernation and seeking out anything green in the garden to feed on. You will need to be quick and vigilant to prevent slug and snail attacks at this time of year, which can devastate young shoots and bulbs even before they have chance to get started.

alstroemeria shoots protected by egg shells hemerocallis shoots protected by egg shells dicentra shoots protected by egg shells

I have tried many methods over the years to prevent young plants from being eaten by slugs and snails. As we live in an area of high rainfall (Lincolnshire) it is a constant battle against these little critters. I don't like to use slug pellets in the garden as we have two dogs and a cat and are often visited by hedgehogs. The most effective deterrent I have found so far is to use crushed eggshells. I collect all used eggshells from the kitchen over the winter time and store them in a dry box in the garage until needed. Then in the spring I crush then up as much as possible and place them in a circle around any new shoots that appear in the spring. You can also use sharp grit but I find that egg shells are much better, and of course they are free and will rot-down into the soil.

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