Garden Troubles


Sometimes things can go wrong even in the most well cared for gardens.

However good the borders and flower beds look you must be on your guard for pests and diseases.

Although sometimes it's not always the pests or diseases that can damage your plants, frost, Poor soil quality, shade, lack of water or just the wrong plant selection for the planting site can cause plant stress.

In this section you will find information on possible causes for troubled plants.

Getting Rid of Slug – Slug Pellets

Vegetables, ripening fruit (strawberries, tomatoes) all are in line for a greedy attack. There are many ways of preventing damage from slugs and snails. The most common is of course the slug pellets. These kill quickly and effectively. They are cost efficient and most of them are harmless to birds and pets and wildlife.

Crushed Eggshells

Another way of getting rid of slugs is to use crushed eggshells and crushed sea shells. Sea shells will enhance the appearance of your garden, pots and containers so will serve a dual purpose. You can of course encourage wild life into your garden. Use dense shrubbery and bird nesting boxes to encourage birds into your garden and they will feed on slugs and insects.

Hedgehogs to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails

Using hedgehogs is another effective way of getting rid or slugs who love to feed on slugs. Special homes can be provided for them and they are easy to maintain.

Frogs and Beetles Love Snails.

If you can have a pond in your garden this will keep frogs happy as slugs provide a quarter of their diet. Carabid beetles like to eat slugs and also slug eggs. Encourage the beetle by providing logs and stones to hide in. There are some plants that slugs hate e.g. lavender, mullein, rock rose and lambs ear.

Slug Pellets

When using slug pellets don’t be tempted to put them in heaps round the plant or by scattering them densely. It is more effective if you apply them on a warm, moist evening as this is when they are more likely to appear.

Slug Pub

Scatter them thinly over the soil around the plants about 10 -15cm apart. The slug pub is another way of dealing with slugs. This container which is put into the ground and half filled with beer. Remember to remove the dead slugs regularly. What a way to go!

You can go out in the evening with a torch and a bucket and remove the slugs and dispose of away from your garden and then there is the nematode which are a microscopic parasite.

These are introduced to the soil and they will enter the slug and within a few days the slug swells up which stops it from feeding. It will burrow into the soil and will die in approx 2 weeks. This is an expensive and slow exercise but may be worth the effort.


Root problems are generally caused by soil pests, they attack plants unseen down in the soil. They eat the fleshy roots and by the time the damage is noticed the plant may be beyond recovery. 

Here is a list of Root eating pests.


A brown- grey slow moving grub that can cause serious damage to plant roots in beds and borders on poorly drained soil. Attacks from these grubs seen worse after a wet winter.

There is no chemical answer for these pests, digging and hoeing to expose them and then destroy them is the best remedy.


Millepedes target the underground parts of many plants. Damaged or diseased areas are prime targets for this pest.

They curl up when they are disturbed.

As there is no chemical sprays it is best to destroy them when they are found.


These white wrinkly grubs are destructive underground. They eat through roots of most potted plants and alpines. If a plant dies suddenly check the soil for this curled up grub and remove straight away and destroy them. You can use Bug clear ultra Vine weevil killer or pick out and leave on a saucer for the birds to eat.


A serious disease of the veg garden, can affect wallflower and stocks.

The roots swell and become distorted below ground and plants are small and die off a bit earlier.

Applying lime to the soil before planting and avoid growing wallflower in the same site year after year.


These hard shiny insects slow moving, not as active as the centipede. They will eat the roots of most flowering plants and can burrow up the stems of chrysanthemum.

Pick wireworms out when digging and hoeing. Feed to the birds or destroy them.


These 2in long green, grey or brown soil-living caterpillars will eat through roots and stems, they can sever seedlings that are ground level.

Look for and destroy these cutworms near and around the attacked plants.

Remove any grubs exposed when digging.


A fat curved grub of the chafer beetle will feed throughout the year on roots. Badly affected plants are killed. If found in the soil around the roots remove and destroy or feed to the birds. 

A biological nematode solution can be watered onto the soil, a microscopic worm like creature enters the grubs body and releases a killer bacteria, this method is only effective when the weather is warm and the soil is moist.


A common disease that affects Antirrhinum, begonias, sweet pea, geranium. The roots are blackened and the leaves turn yellow and wilt.

There is no cure for this problem, so try to avoid the causes- unsterilized compost indoors, uncomposted leaf mould outdoors and replanting the same type of plant in infected soil.

Tuber, Corm and Bulb Troubles


Daliha tubers can be destroyed whilst being stored, by fungal rots. To help preventing this happening stand the tubers upside down and allow to dry out, gently brushing off any excess soil. Leave to dry out before placing them  in a box in a frost free place. Checking the tubers every so often, cutting away any diseased parts.


A destructive disease of flag iris, especially if planted in poorly drained soil. The leaf tips turn yellow and wither. Later on the fan of leaves collapses. A yellow slimy rot affects the rhizome. The plants can be saved if the diseased area is cut away as soon as they are seen, treat the rhizome and soil with a copper dust.


A number or serious storage rots can affect Tulips and Daffodils.

NARCISSUS SMOULDER can cause bulbs to decay, with small fungal growths appearing on the outer scales.

BASAL ROT starts at the base of the bulb of Daffodils and Lilies. The brown rot spreads upwards through the inner scales.

TULIP FIRE the most serious disease of the bulb. Small fungal growths appear on the outer scales, damaging the shoots and flowers.

In all cases dig up affected plants and never plant soft or mouldy bulbs. Remove any rotten bulbs from storage.


These tiny maggots affect daffodil bulbs, if left in the soil they will turn bulbs making them soft, rotten, and producing few leaves and no flowers.

Control is not easy but discarding bulbs at lifting or planting time if they are soft.


The affected bulbs of Daffodils, tulips hyacinths etc become soft and rotten. Dark rings appear in a cut bulb. Daffodil leaves are pale, twisted and bear small yellow dwellings on the surface. Throw any soft bulbs away. Do not plant bulbous plants in affected land for at least three years.


Serious storage rots occur on crocus and gladiolus corms.

DRY ROT can cause black spot to appear on the corm,  which merge and decays the tissue completely.

HARD ROT the spots are brown and the corm becomes shrivelled.

SCAB spots are round, brown and shiny.

CORE ROT is different from the other corm diseases it begins at the centre CORE of gladiolus corns and then spreads outwards as a moist rot.

In all cases dig up affected plants. 

Never plant soft or mouldy corns and remove any rotten corns from storage. 


This soil-living caterpillar will attack  all types of bulbs. The swift moth caterpillar moves backwards when disturbed. If swift moth is a known problem take in a soil insecticide before planting. Otherwise keep this pest under control by hoeing regularly.


Colonies of greenflies can develop on tulip and lily bulbs. They shelter and feed on the outer scales. Young growth can be severely affected when infested bulbs are planted. 

Rub the aphids off before planting.

Chemical treatment is not necessary.

Holes in Leaves

Holes in leaves are sometimes caused by frosts or bad weather, the usual suspect is insect pests.

The lower leaves on perennials, seedlings and smaller plants can be damaged by slugs, snails, vine weevils, and woodlice, theses critters feed on the foliage at night, hiding under stones and debris during the day. Pests above the ground attack the leaves that are growing at any level.


A small brown beetle 1/4in in size.

U shaped notches appear on the leaves.

A common pest to vegetable gardens. They damage flowers on the pea family ( sweet pea, Lupins  etc). Protect seedlings as they are most at risk and can be protected by spraying with a suitable pesticide.


There are many leaf eating caterpillars which attack annuals and perennials in the garden. 

ANGLE SHADES MOTH is green, smooth and about 2in long and is a big pest to Dahlia, gladiolus and other perennials.

CABBAGE MOTH a brown smooth caterpillar 1 1/4 in long, leaving the leaves skeletonised.


Slightly hairy about 11/2in long, attacks annuals and perennials leaving the leaves skeletonised.

VAPOURER MOTH is a colourful caterpillar, which feeds on leaves of perennials fro May to August.

The cabbage white butterfly is a serious pest. Pick off the caterpillars if practical. With widespread damage spray with an insecticide.


A shady loving pest, often found hiding under stones or leaf debris during the day, then eating young leaves of a wide variety of plants during the night. Woodlice like plants that have already been damaged by a previous pest.

Control isn't easy, clear rubbish and debris in the garden.


Irregular holes are formed and the tell tale slime sign can be seen.

Damage is worse in a shady, poorly drained site. They hide under garden rubbish during the day. Keep areas clean and cultivated is the first form of control, scattering slug pellets around the base of plants will help too.

EARWIGS like attacking Chrysanthemums, Dahlias and other plants in the garden. The females are night feeders, they hide under petals during the day, shaking the stems and flowers you can trap these pests in upturned flower pots filled with straw.

FLEA BEETLE are tiny black and yellow beetles that attack seedlings.

Lots of small round holes appear in the leaves, this can slow growth down and kill seedlings. These beetles jump when disturbed. At first sight spray with pesticide.

CAPSID BUG these are serious pests on Dahlias Chrysanthemum and salvia. The leaves are spotted and as the foliage enlarges small holes with a brown edge are formed. The leaves are puckered and distorted. Spray both the plant and ground with an insecticide.

We hope you have found this information on garden troubles. If you need further assistance please contact us for more advice. Don't forget you can also get pest control products straight to your home. Call us on 020 8421 5977 to find out more about our delivery price and delivery areas or see here for more detail


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