Wealden District Council
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Gardeners’ Corner – monthly hints and tips for your garden

Garden scene


Nothing evokes an English summer quite like the image of butterflies fluttering from flower to flower in the sunshine. July’s garden is full of blooms and colour and you can enjoy these outside or cut some for indoors. There is of course abundant foliage at this time of year and some of it is particularly susceptible to slug damage, especially on damp days. This issue includes some tips on managing the slug menace!

Unfortunately, there is no single fail-safe way of keeping slugs off your precious plants. There are however a number of different methods that can be used in combination to minimise the devastation!

Welcome wildlife

Please don’t be tempted to use poisonous slug pellets as these are dangerous for children, pets and the wildlife that will help to manage your slug and snail population. Hedgehogs, birds, frogs, toads, newts and lizards will all eat slugs, and most people find it delightful to happen upon these creatures in their gardens. You can welcome wildlife by allowing access through your garden boundaries, by leaving some untended areas that can create safe wildlife corridors and by not using pesticides.

Make it uncomfortable

Providing a rough or sharp terrain around the plants or seedlings you want to protect will make it harder for slugs and snails to glide up to your tasty leaves. Crumbled, dried eggshells, sharp sand, wood shavings and wool pellets are all options. Don’t be tempted to put rings of salt around plants. This will definitely see off the slugs but it will also poison the soil and potentially kill your plants.

If you have plants in containers, you can use copper tape around the perimeter to provide a barrier slugs won’t want to cross. The copper gives them a little electric shock. This can be an expensive option though.

Gather them up

Slug pubs can be created with empty yoghurt pots (or similar) part-filled with beer. Slugs will make a beeline for the booze, drink up and pass out. You’ll need to empty out the slugs and refill the container as required.

Citrus shells made from oranges or grapefruits can be placed at strategic locations. Slugs will tend to gather under them for you to collect: gardening gloves essential! Similar ‘hiding places’ can be created from upturned pots or anything that provides damp shelter for them during the daytime.

Orange slug trap

Seek them out

Slugs will happily roam during the daytime when it’s damp and rainy. If you’re not a fair weather gardener you can get out there and stop them in their tracks. Also, get to know the likely hiding places in your garden. In good weather, you’re only likely to catch them by torchlight after dark. They can be relocated to a compost heap, where they will helpfully engage in decomposing garden waste.

You will never completely win the battle with slugs, but don’t be disheartened, this is actually a good thing because they play their vital role in the ecology of the garden along with all other organisms. We just need to find a way of preventing them eating the majority of our favourite food and decorative plants!

Nicer jobs

June drop is a phenomenon whereby fruit trees naturally shed some of their fruitlets. This helps to ensure that the remaining fruit reaches a good size. Sometimes further thinning may be required. Whilst this may feel counter-intuitive, it really does help the tree produce good-sized fruits, so do get thinning!

Dead heading flowers will encourage more blooms to form and prolong the colourful displays.

It is also time to harvest lavender, so long as the day is fine and dry. Hang it in a cool dry place then you can use it for culinary purposes, to make lavender bags, pot pourri or simply arrange as fragrant decoration.

Want the garden waste collection service?
Wealden’s Garden Waste Service enables residents to subscribe to have up to four garden waste bins emptied on a fortnightly basis. The new subscription year starts on 1 August and runs until the end of July 2025. If you currently have the service and would like to renew, please visit www.wealden.gov.uk/gardenwaste  before 17 July to ensure collections continue in August. Happy gardening.