Slaters (also known as roly polys) are land-living crustaceans that commonly feed on decaying matter and help to build soils. So while they can be considered friendly under many circumstances, in hot, dry conditions when their food sources are scarce, they can turn their attention to your young seedlings.

Though not an issue in the eastern states of Australia, slaters have become problematic for growers in the west. It is believed that the warm, arid climate in conjunction with dusty, dry mulches, have provided the ideal breeding ground for slaters to become something of a nuisance.

Optimal Conditions

Hot and dry conditions and seasons


Seedlings disappearing overnight or their stems being ringed. Scratch under the mulch and you should see them scurrying about.


The slaters favour the dusty covering of traditional mulches for breeding, but you shouldn’t stop mulching your patch, particularly in summer. An alternative worth trying is pellet mulches, which expand once watered, changing the dynamic of the cover.


Growing vertically, and off the ground, means there is far less chance of a slater problem. If growing at ground level, you may need to position decoys when you have young seedlings about. Potato peels covered by a cup is a tasty snack that should distract them. Chooks are pretty fond of slaters, so if you have chickens try rotating them through the garden to control numbers.


Place protective plant collars around your plants. The slaters will not be able to penetrate this defence and will turn their attention elsewhere.

Related Products

Wall Garden multi hang
Regular price $10.00
Garden Cloche (set of 3)
Regular price $12.00
Add to cart
Quick View
Wall Garden Units
Regular price $19.50 $15.00
Special instructions for seller
Add A Coupon

What are you looking for?

Join Our Community

For seasonal tips, planting advice, special offers...and to get your fingernails dirty