Slugs, Snails, Greenfly – this time it’s war

Just as everything gets growing in the garden so we start to face the normal onslaught of nature red in tooth and claw. Suddenly, everything wants to chew, chomp, gnaw and generally eat every plant you have lovingly grown all Winter. It can be heartbreaking to see all your hard work being destroyed, sometimes literally overnight by an invasion of Greenfly that you did not notice till it is too late.

Now there tends to be two basic responses to this; either you use chemicals, or you rely on nature to correct the balance. But in my opinion neither of them hold true on all occasions. You can be against chemicals and hope that nature will self correct, and on the rare occasion armies of Ladybirds will fly in and save some of your plants. However, from my experience you will have to sparingly use some chemicals just to keep the overall balance.

Anyway let’s get on with it. Get your glasses on and have a good look at your plants, it’s war out there.

21st April 2021. Things I have been doing lately:

🍃 Dealing with Greenfly. If like me you are getting old and need reading glasses, then it is time to put them on and have a close look at all your plants. I suspect you will find that Greenfly are building vast colonies on most of your plants and sucking the life out of them. Greenfly are one of nature’s greatest camouflagers and can blend expertly with a wide range of plants. When I donned my glasses the other day for a quick check around I was confronted by Greenfly on my Roses and a Dame de Noche. The first photo below shows the heavily infected Dame de Noche and the second shows the start of a colony on a Rose. Click on each photo for a larger view.

Now, generally Greenfly won’t kill a plant, but they can greatly weaken it and destroy its shape and looks. If you are going to use chemicals (and I do when necessary), then you need the right tools for the job. For large infestations I suggest that you use a 5 litre pump action sprayer these are very cheap and efficient. You can mix up enough chemicals for the whole garden and get it sprayed all in one go. For smaller infestations, and to make sure they don’t become big ones, then you need a hand held ready mixed proprietary spray. With the smaller spray you can just pop to the shed and fetch it when you see a problem. The photo below shows the chemicals I use and my spray equipment. Other brands are of course available.

Note that the term “Polivalente” on the packaging is important as it ensures it will cover a wide variety of harmful insects

🐚 Planting Marigolds and dealing with snails. By now you should have started planting out all your annuals that you have grown from seed. This year I am planting out lots of Marigolds and Sunflowers. Now Marigolds are an absolute favourite of snails who will travel quite a distance just to chomp on the delicate new stems of young Marigolds. Given that I have planted out over a 130 seedlings this presents a veritable feast for slugs and snails.

The gallery of photos below gives you an idea of my planting marathon. I have included some panorama photos as an experiment. Click on each photo for a larger view.

Unfortunately there is only one way to successfully save your Marigolds from slugs and snails, and that is to use slug pellets. Make sure you use only bird and pet friendly pellets. Water in all your seedlings and then wait about an hour before sprinkling the pellets around each seedling. Do not water the seedlings for about three days as this will give time for all the snails to try and get to the plants. After three days the plants should have hardened up a bit and the snails will have been dealt with.

The photos below show the brand of slug pellet that I use together with my sprinkling method. If you don’t believe in the efficacy of slug and snail pellets then the last photo shows the tsunami of snails that threw themselves against my defensive wall around one seedling. Click on each photo for a larger view.

I have tried using beer traps in the past, but all I got was drunken happy snails

💐 Enjoy your garden. After this tale of the terrors of the garden it is all to easy to think of gardening as a chore. But it is not, gardening is a gift from God, who has allowed us to explore the wonders He has made. The photo below shows a couple of mottos I have attached to my outside kitchen wall just to remind me. Followed finally by my delight in this years Roses.

Moments like this make it all worthwhile

Author: spanishgarden

I live in both Spain and the UK and am a very keen gardener. I garden every day and enjoy sharing all the secrets that God allows us to discover in our gardens.

One thought on “Slugs, Snails, Greenfly – this time it’s war”

  1. What weird snails. The worst snails here are French brown snails that were imported for escargot. Small native snails are rare. I would have expected brown snails to live there too, since it is close to their home. Of course, I do not know that they are actually from France, or if the French just happen to like them.

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