Mark Lane's simple tip will prevent slugs from nibbling your plants – and now is the time to try

Advice from the trusted presenter will ensure your garden is slug free throughout the cooler seasons and beyond

Slug on a plant
(Image credit: Tali Aiona / EyeEm)

Admired for this expertise on BBC Gardeners' World, the green-thumbed guru Mark Lane has already reshaped our garden habits across the seasons – but his latest secret may be his most simple and effective yet.

Yes, the horticultural expert has addressed the question almost all gardeners find themselves debating with at some point in their gardening career – how to get rid of slugs

In an interview (opens in new tab), Mark shared the secret to getting rid of slugs for good – with the help of one simple tool – nematodes. But how does this biological weapon work? In the discussion of his garden design ideas, Mark reveals what you need to know – and why autumn is the perfect time to invest.

Mark Lane at the Press Day for the first Autumnal RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Garden expert Mark Lane

(Image credit: Maureen McLean / Alamy Stock Photo)

'The one I find that works best for us here is a thing called nematodes,' Mark says. He explains that they are 'microscopic worms' that is an organic slug prevention – in comparison to conventional slug pellets, which are harmful to birds and other wildlife. 

To get rid of slugs, the nematodes 'lay their eggs inside the slug, and the slug is eaten from the inside out.' 

However, Mark notes that, despite their evident danger to slugs, nematodes are entirely safe around humans. 'Harmless [to] children, animals, everybody, they are absolutely brilliant,' he says. 

But where can you buy such prevention? While you can pick up nematodes in a garden center, Mark shops for his treatment online – adding that they look like 'dry yeast' when they arrive in the post. This includes these Slug Nematodes from Amazon (opens in new tab).

 'You have to keep them in the freezer because they're a live culture,' he adds – before sharing his preparation tips. 

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Nemaslug – Slug Nematodes Natural Slug Killer | From £13.20 on Amazon (opens in new tab)
This safe (for anyone but slugs) and easy to use form of pest control contains 12 million nematodes to cover and treat a 40m2 area. It is effective for as long as six weeks.

Arion rufus (Large red slug) - stock photo

(Image credit: DESPITE STRAIGHT LINES (Paul Williams))

'What you do is you mix them up in a watering can,' before sprinkling them into the water. 'Then you water the soil around your plants when gardening,' he adds. 

Plus, there is no better time to trial this technique, as Mark reveals that he applies nematodes right around now in autumn – and once again in the springtime. As, while you may be covered with just an autumnal shower, experts recommend applying twice annually for best results. 

Is Mark's cheap garden idea the secret to healthy plants for the year ahead? We're certainly willing to give these powerful creatures a try. 

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Gardeningetc, Livingetc, and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.