Basil: Something Eating It, and How to Prune
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Julie Butler
Posted on: May 26, 1998

I have two questions regarding Sweet Basil. First, something is eating the leaves of my new plants. How can I stop it? Second, once the Basil is growing properly, should it be pruned to encourage growth?

Just about every beastie in the garden loves the tender leaves of basil. The worst pests though are slugs and snails. They plus a lot of other creepers and crawlers can be discouraged or stopped by putting a five to ten centimeter band of Fossil dust (catalogue # T2140) around the base of the plant. This has to be repaired after every rain or watering. Slugs and snails can also be stopped by a five centimeter strip of copper wrapped around the base of each plant. The copper apparently reacts with the slime of these raiders and gives them a shock – and presto they turn tail and decide the dandelions are not so bad after all!

Once the plants are growing well pinch out the growing tips to encourage branching and bushiness. You can of course eat the tips you nipped out.

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