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UK’s carefully nurtured plants under attack

Who’s embarked on this and where?
The battlefields are the gardens in the UK, and it is the hobby gardeners who are up in arms. This summer, more snails and slugs have increased their foray into gardens and have created a kerfuffle.

Oh. Is this some kind of snail invasion?
Well, more than the actual numbers – which haven’t increased substantially – it’s the damage they are causing. Perhaps the pandemic has increased their appetite!

And the gardeners are not happy, of course
They are not! Their carefully nurtured plants are under attack. In fact, in its annual pest ranking, the Royal Horticultural Society found that slugs and gardeners were gardeners’ biggest foe.

So what are they doing about this incursion
The gardeners? The first option is to throw them over the fence – about a fifth of them do that, it being the strategy of choice for Londoners in particular. Others use pellets or traps, like the beer trap, where they place a sunken bowl of beer which slugs become attracted to and then drown in.

Drowning in beer doesn’t sound entirely unpleasant.
It definitely is for slugs! But experts caution that not all slugs and snails are equally harmful to your plants – just 8-9 out of 40 slug species and perhaps three out of 100 types of snail. Some can even help gardens by eating rotting material.

Aha. So #NotAllSnails, eh?
Indeed. Experts also say that in the current times of ecological crisis we are living in, there are various species-friendly alternatives to drowning them or placing chemical pellets. They suggest building up a “robust ecosystem” or replanting plants that have grown to a decent size and can withstand “attacks”.

Text: Indulekha Aravind