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Best snail bait

WE deflask a lot of tissue-cultured orchid plants into small tubes and grow them on. They are placed on a shelf in our shade houses. Like everyone else, we get slugs and snails, which love the small plants. Any slug bait placed on top of the plant tubes goes mouldy when it gets wet and looks terrible. We have made traps from soft drink bottles with the neck cut off and turned back inside the bottle. Bait is placed inside the bottle. It works, but some snails still get through to damage the plants. Is there a product which will not go mouldy?

 

THERE are several different types of slug and snail baits available these days as well as home-made baits using materials like beer.

In my experience, the best one for controlling slugs among valuable small nursery plants, such as your young orchids, is Slug Out, which comes as relatively small granules so is very easy to scatter evenly among plants and it doesn't create the mould problem you describe. Unfortunately, it seems to be only available in 5kg containers from horticultural suppliers such as Veg-Gro Supplies and Wrightsons.

But you could also try Baysol, which is available in garden centres, as it is also more rain and mould resistant than some other types and is also in relatively small granules.

Although bait stations can attract some slugs and snails, to give your tender young orchids the best protection I recommend sprinkling the bait as evenly as possible among the plants. Also sprinkle it on the floor beneath the benches as that is where they must be coming from initially. But take care. Although most slug baits contain animal deterrents, some dogs and cats may still be attracted to them.

Perhaps also worth trying is the technique of sprinkling a thin layer of coarse sand over the top of the potting mix as this has proved in some circumstances to be a great deterrent. Slugs and snails simply don't like crawling on the rough surface.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 175, 2005, Page 30

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener


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Last updated: October 25, 2005