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  • Damage caused by sempervivum leaf miner. Image: RHS

    Sempervivum leaf miner

    Sempervivum leaf miner was first recorded in southern England during 2008. It has spread slowly but can cause serious damage to house leeks. It originates from mainland Europe.

  • ©RHS WSYD0012523

    Sheep’s sorrel

    Sheep’s sorrel (Rumex acetosella) is a relative of dock whose tangy young leaves in long grassland are favoured by foragers. However, in gardens especially on sandy, acidic soils it can be a troublesome weed.

  • © RHS WSYD0014517

    Shepherd's purse

    Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) is a fast-growing and prolific annual weed, known to many gardeners for the sheer number of seedlings produced each season and the time it can take to control.

  • Silver leaf on plum. Image: RHS, Horticultural Science

    Silver leaf

    Silver leaf is a fungal disease of the wood and leaves of some trees, especially plums, apples, apricots and cherries. The fungus infects the wood through wounds and causes a silvering of the leaves followed by death of the branch.

  • © RHS Science

    Sirococcus blight

    This recently recognised fungal disease affects cedars and hemlocks. It causes shoot tip dieback and defoliation. Young trees may be killed if branches/trunk are girdled but it is reported that infected mature trees can live for many years.

  • Slime mould on a lawn. Image: RHS, Horticultural Science

    Slime moulds on lawns

    Slime moulds occasionally cause concern when they appear on lawns, but they do not attack or kill the grass. They vary greatly in their colour, size and form. Their spore-producing structures are often very fragile, disintegrating when touched.

  • ©RHS SCN0001899


    Slugs are persistent and widespread pests which can cause havoc in the garden, eating holes in leaves, stems, flowers, tubers and bulbs. They can cause damage throughout the year on a wide range of plants, but seedlings and new growth on herbaceous plants in spring are most at risk.

  • Smuts


    Whilst they are not seen as commonly as their close relatives the rusts, smut fungi can affect a range of garden plants, including some widely-grown vegetables and ornamentals. Some smuts cause conspicuous growth distortions, whilst others cause leaf spotting. All can contaminate the soil for extended periods of time.

  • Snail. Image: RHS, Horticultural Science


    Snails are familiar animals that can cause a lot of damage in the garden, eating holes in leaves, stems and flowers.

  • Grey mould on snowdrops. Image: RHS, Horticultural Science

    Snowdrop grey mould

    Grey mould in snowdrops is an infection or disease caused by the fungus Botrytis galanthina, causing leaves and flowers to collapse. A fuzzy grey mould forms under wet conditions.

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