Using nematodes and Strulch to keep slugs under control is a good example the contemporary Integrated Crop Management (IPM) approach to reducing use of pesticides. IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties.
Controlling Slugs in Your Garden
Using Nematodes can be an effective way of controlling slugs in your garden but results can be patchy an unpredictable. Here are a few tips on how to get the best out of using nematode control methods.
Nematodes are microscopic worms that are well adapted to living in soils. The nematodes used in commercial slug control products are specially selected strains of parasitic species which seek out slugs in the soil, invade and multiply in the slug body and eventually kill the slug by eating them from the inside out (think of Alien film series). Soil inhabiting nematodes have evolved a specialised method of moving through soils by clinging on to the water films that surround soil particles. Their mobility and effectiveness is greatest in well structured, open and particularly sandy soils that are kept moist so that there is a thin film of water kept around the soil particles. Nematode mobility and effectiveness is greatly reduced in heavy clay soils which are compacted, particularly when they are hard and dry.
Making sure that the soil is well cultivated and moist before applying nematodes is a good first step to getting the most of nematode slug control. However, covering the surface with a layer of Strulch after treatment is an excellent way of keeping the soil moist so the nematodes can do their job of seeking out and attacking slugs.
Firstly what is a mulch? The definition in the Oxford English dictionary is “A mixture of wet straw, leaves, etc, spread around (the roots of) a plant to enrich or insulate the soil.” Neither wet straw nor leaves make ideal mulch materials, and there’s a lot more to mulching than enrichment and insulation.
So what should we be mulching with and what can we expect it to do?
For most gardener’s, the purpose of mulch is to control the growth of weeds. For the average gardener who doesn’t want to spend all their time hoeing and weeding, mulch is a most effective weed-control. Almost anything that covers the soil will control weed growth. A good example of this is plastic sheeting which is to say the least unsightly and impractical for home gardening. Mulch is usually a thick layer of organic material. Weed seeds need light to germinate, and any layer thick enough to exclude light will prevent most of them from germinating. So just how thick is enough? The majority of weeds have small seeds, and for these even an inch of mulch is fatal. But weeds with big seeds, will come through that as though it weren’t there, so 4 inches are ideal to prevent germination. The general rule of thumb for mulch is the thicker the better. There is of course nothing to stop weeds germinating on top of the mulch, but at least these can be removed quite easily.
Mulch can and does prevent some of the flowers you want to grow from growing. Both Shrubs and perennials will shrug off 4 inches of mulch, but don’t cover small plants with thick layers of mulch.
What’s the best time to apply mulch?
The consensus of opinion is to apply garden mulch in Spring, but you’ll be dumping it on to growing plants, so consider an autumn application. Do this after rain, but before the first frosts of winter, so that the soil beneath the mulch is still moist and warm.
There are free mulches which can be made from garden trimmings, but these tend to look unsightly and require investment in a shredder. Bark mulch looks nice but tree bark is naturally waterproof and does not absorb or retain water. For a cost effective market leading solution, why not consider Strulch? Strulch is recommended by the RHS and leading garden centre, and independent garden chains. Simply visit our website for more detail at www.strulch.co.uk.
Environmentally friendly, slug and snail repellent.
Weed control may be your primary aim, but Strulch mineralised organic mulch does much more than that for your garden. Strulch slowly decays, adding organic matter to your soil, encouraging earthworms and improving soil structure and water-holding capacity.
Are garden mulches created equal?
We believe that Strulch is different, which is why leading garden centres and the RHS recommend Strulch gardening mulch. Strulch protects the soil surface from heavy rain, while allowing rainwater to penetrate slowly, preventing run-off and soil erosion, and whilst you shouldn’t tread on your soil, Strulch organic garden mulch also protects soil from feet. An additional benefit of Strulch organic gardening mulch is that it’s embedded minerals deters slugs and snails. Simply apply Strulch organic garden mulch to the soils surface and let garden worms take care of the rest.
It's always a delight to receive positive testimonials about our Strulch garden mulch, to see how it is being used in gardens around the country. Recently Tricia got in touch with us to share her success about how, by using Strulch, she has prevented weeds from growing in her fruit beds for three years. Tricia's garden is at Upper Shelderton House in Shropshire, she shows her garden for charity via the National Garden Scheme (NGS). In her testimonial of our garden mulch she said, "I can't thank you enough for developing such a fantastic product."
At Strulch we are always delighted when a new garden centre joins as a stockist. Today we welcome Shannon’s Garden Centre who are based in Forest Hill, South-East London, as one of our new stockists.
The founder of Shannon’s Garden Centre, Henry Shannon originally started in business as a landscaper but after dreaming of owning his own garden centre he built Shannon’s Garden Centre on land in Forest Hill in 1989. Much like ourselves, Shannon’s Garden Centre has a good reputation and loyal customers.
On my recent shopping trip to Waitrose supermarket I picked up a copy of their Garden Magazine. On page entitled 'Doing it Organically' there is a paragraph titled ' Mulch Your Way to Success'
It says " A mulch of home-made compost or manure is soon taken down into the soil by worms' improving the soil's structure and organic content. A thick layer helps retain moisture and suppress annual weeds too. Strulch from 9.99 per square metre waitrosegarden.com, a great mulching material made from wheat straw can be used in flower beds as well as in the kitchen garden"
Really pleased to have the mention and its good to know that if there isn't a stockist near you that Strulch can be bought on line.
Easter is early this year and although we had a glorious day yesterday in Yorkshire its downhill today- cooler and wet! Glad we got out in the garden yesterday and made the most of the sunny day. I have been on a plant buying spree! I am glad we took some photos of our garden in full bloom last year. That way I could see where the spaces are! I am a self-confessed 'plantaholic' so I can always squeeze in a few more in.