Slam­ming slugs and snails

The Tribune (NZ) - - GARDENING - WALLY RICHARDS

This spring has been a bit of a roller coaster.

Fluc­tu­at­ing tem­per­a­tures and high mois­ture lev­els can help pests thrive.

Among them are the Gas­tropoda or gas­tropods, more com­monly known as snails and slugs.

Ac­tive dur­ing wet weather these pests can do a lot of dam­age to young plants, while they tend to live within the fo­liage of veg­eta­bles that are ready for har­vest.

Those look­ing for a non-poi­sonous way of deal­ing to the crit­ters that will not af­fect pets and wildlife, should try Quash.

The com­mer­cial iron-based prod­uct comes in pel­let form and can be safely sprin­kled around seedlings and other plants that need pro­tec­tion from slugs and snails.

The pel­lets con­tain a lure and the pests eat it and die be­cause they can­not han­dle iron.

A sim­i­lar home-made bait can be mixed up us­ing bran as the car­rier, yeast as the lure and iron sul­phate or iron chelate as the con­trol. It’s easy, in­ex­pen­sive and safe.

The yeast lure idea is be­hind the old dish or jar of beer sunk in the ground trick. Ir­re­sistibly at­tracted, pre­sum­ably the gas­tropods party down and drown.

Cop­per is an­other el­e­ment fa­tal to slugs and snails.

Sprin­kle a lit­tle un­treated saw­dust around seedlings and and spray a mix­ture of Wallys Liq­uid Cop­per with Rain­gard added.

The slugs and snails will not go over the cop­per so plants can grow safely.

It can also be sprayed di­rectly wher­ever the slimy crit­ters are found. To trap them, lay slats of ply on the soil where slugs will hide dur­ing the day. Make up a spray of one part bleach and one part wa­ter in a trig­ger sprayer. Some­time dur­ing the day, fold back the ply to ex­pose the slugs and spray.

Re-lay the slats to col­lect more slugs overnight.

This also works to con­trol pop­u­la­tions of wood lice or slaters.

Rust on gar­lic leaves ap­pears to be a prob­lem this sea­son.

The rust lim­its the amount of en­ergy the plant can ab­sorb from the sun, af­fect­ing the form­ing bulbs and lim­it­ing their size.

This is an­noy­ing as home-grown gar­lic is a crop prized for health and

culi­nary use. Try mix­ing 1⁄ tea­spoon of potas­sium

4 per­man­ganate into a litre of wa­ter with 1mil of Rain­gard added to spray all the gar­lic fo­liage.

The dam­age al­ready done will re­main, but any new fo­liage should be free of rust. Re­peat the dose about a week later.

The al­ter­na­tive to potas­sium per­man­ganate is Liq­uid Sul­phur. Cop­per sprays are not ef­fec­tive.

Af­ter a cou­ple of those sprays, off­set the ex­ist­ing rust dam­age by giv­ing the fo­liage a spray of Perk­fec­tion and Va­por­gard.

The Perk­fec­tion builds up the plants’ im­mune sys­tems and Va­por­gard pro­vides a sun screen against UV, al­low­ing the plants to pho­to­syn­the­sise bet­ter and gain more grow­ing en­ergy from the sun.

The Va­por­gard film fur­ther pro­tects the leaves against sub­se­quent rust attacks.

Prob­lems, ring 357 0606 or email wal­lyjr@gar­de­news.co.nz

FAIR­FAX NZ

Snails can cause a lot of dam­age to young plants if left un­con­trolled.

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