I now have my first batch of what I would regard as valuable rose seedlings, in their first week of life.

I must try and grow these ALL into plants, however recent experiences with all my op seedlings which were raised to be used as practice-run stooges, tells me I have a huge problem with snails and slugs consuming these seedlings for late dinner, overnight.

“Easy enough” you say, put out snail bait pellets in the pots.

Well…I have another problem…there is a big rat problem this season in this city of mine, apparently.

I have put out a few op seedlings with snail bait around them…sure this solves the snail/slug issue completely, however rats are eating all the snail bait, and in the process digging out all the op rose seedlings. Of course they are also eating the rat baits, (as well as my tomatoes before they even get to develop much color).

Thank goodness I have done practice-runs with all my op seedlings (all proved absolute crap for any other use…LOL).


Oh…I should also add…

I do have a section of the house (front veranda) which faces due east where rats never visit, probably due to street lights/openness etc…and I plan on moving these pots there with the snail bait in them. Currently they are sitting inside my kitchen by the window which has a fly screen and is kept open to encourage good air flow.

So, I already have a solution that works in my situation, but it is only pure luck…

Are there any more universal solutions to this type of problem out there?


I have a similar problem with Mice and my solution is to sow the seeds in flats inside the safety of a big box made of hardware cloth. (Here, hardware cloth is what they call welded wire mesh with 1/4" spacing between wires.) Seedlings are pricked out into 3" pots when they have at least two true leaves, at which point the Mice leave things pretty much alone. We have slugs here, by the bazillion, but I have never had a rose seedling eaten by one, for whatever reason.

Best of luck,


One problem with my front veranda, is that humans have helped themselves to my roses, in the past. One graft I did 3 years ago had just made its first flower, when one afternoon I came back home to find someone had pinched the flower, and in the process totally dislodged the whole graft off the rootstock in the process… The veranda is at arms reach from the pedestrian way.

If its not one type of vermin here, it’s another…LOL


In my experince thus far, the slugs only attack the very young rose seedlings (those with cotyledons and/or a few true leaves, say). Once they have many true leaves, my slugs then leave them alone.

I like your idea, it deals with all these problems, and without resorting to chemicals.

I’ve long had to either build raised tables with removable lids lined with half inch hardware cloth, or raised planters covered with hardware cloth. It allows air, light and water in but vermin are prevented entry. Not perfect, but it has worked the best yet. Squirrels and rats eat the hips. Snails and slugs eat the paper tags, primarily the side with the graphite writing. A friend has suggested it is because they like ‘menus’.

Good morning (tuesday 26th Jan here, and happy “Australia Day” to the Aussies lurcking on this forum). Good afternoon (monday) in North America.

If anyone has actual photos of these hardware cloth contraptions, I would be ever so greatful for you to post them here (helps in the overall conceptualisation of the whole thing).

If you don’t already have photos, don’t worry, its ok!

I used to raise silkie chickens. They ate the slugs and snails. My dog (border collie/sheltie mix) patrolled the rest. If you want to see something hilarious, you need to see a dog herd miniature chickens…

As for 0 to 1 month old seedlings, I always made sure to spread the bio-safe type of slug bait. It only takes one night from one slug to ruin a years worth of hopes.

lol…Tell me about it! I even caught a slug clinging onto one of my ‘Burgundy Iceberg’ x op seedlings at a rather more advanced stage, when it had even four or five true leaves! (btw, it threw white flowers, as expected like Iceberg… it served its prupose, now in heaven, along with the slug… RIP).

I know you are against the use of “biotoxic” chemicals in the garden, Jadae, I am of the same persuasion. I hate using some commercial snail baits as they can kill all manner of critters and pets, as well as snails slugs and rats… btw, we have a beautiful 14 yo Rottweiller here, my best friend.

I have seen on TV some gardeners promoting the efficacy of ground coffee sludge as a snail bait.

I breed silkie chickens too (and buff orpingtons, rhode island reds, DB plymouth rocks, pekin ducks and muscovy ducks). I have 20 silkie and orp eggs due to hatch on Thursday :slight_smile: My dog (border collie x curly coated retriever) is hopeless at herding rolls eyes but is great at keeping away possums, rabbits, and wallabys from the roses :wink: If any of you have deer problems I’m happy to rent my Bo out to you to ‘fix’ the problem :wink:

George… I’ve not had so much trouble with slugs/snails since adding perlite to the top of the seed beds. It’s almost like they don’t like the texture and so stay off it (mostly) and that reminded me of something else… diatomaceous earth is effective as a slug barrier. The diatom’s silicon-based exoskeletons are sharp to a slug and is reputed to slice them up if they crawl over it causing them to dehydrate… I use to use it around my chook pens to prevent other chook nasties… the chooks roll in it like a dust bath and it controls lice and other little suckers. You can get garden-grade DE here: Diatomaceous Earth Products Online (pool grade stuff has been chemically treated and I would keep it away from seedlings).

Another very cool trick (for the evil saddist gardener who likes to inflict pain on pests and vermin :wink: ), is copper metal!!! You take strips of copper metal or coils of uncoated copper wire and put it around the edge of the pot. When the slug crawls aross the copper its slime reacts with the copper and gives them an electric shock! Like a slug electric fence LOL (there’s a prac I do with kids at school to demonstrate simple galvanic cells with two plates of metal; one copper and the other zinc. You hook them up to a multimetre and then get the kids to put one hand on each. Their sweaty little hands contain salts and water (an electrolyte) that allows the flow of electrons creating current… the slug thing is a similar idea).

The copper thing sounds like something you could ,well almost patent, Simon…lol

I had Silkies, Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Ducks etc, for years. WEIRD!

There are products on the market made from iron phosphate which kill snails and slugs yet are safe for food, pets and wild life. Two of the brands in the US are Sluggo and Garden Safe. The stuff clogs the digestive tracts of the slugs causing them to starve to death. It isn’t attractive to wild life, but I have had one customer report back that her brain doner Cocker Spaniel ate it regularly and only had the runs from it. It breaks down into iron and phosphorus to fertilize the plants. I’ve used it in clients’ and my own garden as well as in nursery applications. Effective, safe and unscented.

The set up I use is a pair of tables with boxed frames. The hardware cloth is stapled to the outside between the frame pieces like a cage. Make a removable lid frame and cover it with the hardware cloth so it’s like a shoe box with screened sides, ends and lid. It works, it’s easy and quick to put together and rather inexpensive. Rather “rustic”, too.

thx kim

My snail baits grew furry mould, so I had to remove the whole smelly mess this morning…gross.

I just went out looking for iron phosphate, but the closest I could find to this chemical compound was pelletised iron chelate. I guessed that as pellets however, I could still have the trouble with rats nibbling at them (and of course wrecking the seedlings in the process).

There was no hardware cloth at the store, but there was a copper strip like sticky tape, that can be adhered easily around the diameter of pots, or around seedling benches…I immediately thought of Simon’s copper idea, and went for the sale!

So Simon, I am putting the copper idea to the test, on the clino-bracteata, clinophylla seedlings. If it works I will look into into your copper wire application also. I think you are brilliant!

George, picture this…8" wide fir fencing boards used to make a box. Dimensions are unimportant. You make it as large or small as you wish. You now have an open box, top and bottom. For the bottom, staple window screen over the opening like the grill/screen over the front of a stereo speaker or a window screen. What a concept! This acts as a filter to keep the soil inside the box. Over the window screen, staple half inch hardware cloth to reinforce the window screen. Two by fours can be used as braces under the screens when they sit on their supports, saw horses in my set up.

For the lid, create a frame of one by twos sized so the frame will slide over the top of the deeper box as a lid. Cover this lid with another layer of half inch hardware cloth, stapled to it and the hardware cloth will prevent the lid from from sliding all the way over the lower box.

Does that help to provide a clearer idea (I hope!)?

Here, you can buy copperized sticky tape from garden supply stores for snail repellant. Egg shells and diatomacious earth will both work as snail and slug defense. Supposedly, their sharp points pierce the membranes and they leak to death. Painfully, I hope!

Yeah, that helps me understand better, thanks Kim.

I didn’t invent it… I only use perlite… they don’t seem to like it at all. I would imagine that as the copper corrodes its effectiveness would be compromised. You have to maintain it… You can alos go and buy some kitty litter trays and fill them with water. Put some bricks in there and sit the pots on the bricks up on the bricks… so they have a motte around them.