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Protecting plants from pests such as slugs is a problem that all gardeners face. I have lost count of the number of slug attacks that have taken place under the cover of darkness. Over time, I have tried most of the slug deterrents going.
As a lot of my garden surfaces are already covered in slate chippings, I have tried using slate chippings as a protective barrier around vulnerable plants. So, will slate chippings stop slugs?
Slate chippings will not stop slugs. Their rough surface and jagged edges will act as a deterrent, but slate chippings cannot be relied on as a 100% impenetrable slug barrier.
What are the Characteristics of Slate Chippings?
Slate chippings are flat and angular and are available in a variety of colours such as blue, red and grey. They are most commonly sold in either 20mm or 40mm sizes. I have used blue 20mm slate chippings in my garden:
As well as being a versatile gardening and landscaping solution, great for surfacing paths, driveways and patios or as edging for ponds and planting areas, slate chippings have other benefits such as restricting weed growth and deterring slugs.
How Can Slate Chippings Deter Slugs?
Slugs like smooth surfaces and the jagged, cold and angular nature of slate chippings can act as a deterrent. Slugs will tend to avoid slate chipping surfaces wherever they can. If there is another route without slate chippings, they will generally take it.
I Moved Plants from a Smooth Block Paved Surface to a Slate Chipping Surface. This is What Happened.
I have plenty of plants in pots, some of which are particularly susceptible to slug damage such as Strawberries, Dahlias, Busy Lizzies.
I decided to move these plants to my slate chipping covered patio area in the hope that the chippings would deter the slugs and help protect the plants.
If you don’t have any large areas covered in such chippings, an alternative is to try surrounding individual pots or plants with their own chipping barrier. The deeper the barrier, the more effective it is likely to be.
After a few months I noticed a definite improvement in the condition of my plants, with new, uneaten leaf growth starting to appear and virtually no new slug damage. Look at the improvement in my Dhalia below:
Slate Chippings are not 100% Slug Proof
Although I saw a definite improvement, it is important to note that the slate chippings were not 100% slug proof. Upon moving one of the plant pots, I saw a large slug sheltering in the cool and damp underneath:
And I have also seen sizeable slugs crossing the slate chippings on occasion…
So, although they act as a deterrent, slate chippings are not 100% slug proof. If slugs detect a suitable food source, they can be very determined and slate chippings will not always stop them!
What Other Methods Can I Try to Deter Slugs?
Using slate chippings is one approach that I shall continue to use to protect my plants. I have found that combining a mix of different approaches is probably the most effective way to keep the slug population under control.
If you are having problems with slugs in your garden, be sure to check out our article, “Why is my Garden Full of Slugs (7 Ways to Keep Them Under Control)” for more top tips on how to successfully keep them at bay!