Q. Though I've
tried several remedies for slugs, I cannot get rid of them. On the
side of my house, which doesn't get too much sun, I finally dug out
all of my hostas because the slugs chewed them up and after about
three months they looked horrid. At times I would find five in a
bunch in the ground. Is it the soil or what? Thank you.
are essentially snails without shells. They are most prevalent in
moist, cool, shady areas of the garden. They are active at night,
hiding during the day to avoid the hot sun. They leave a telltale
slime trail behind as they move across a plant. Unfortunately they
are also one of the most persistant of garden pests.
Hosta does seem to be one of the slug's favorite plants. They chew
large holes in the plant's leaves, leaving them looking like Swiss
cheese. Slugs also feed on ageratum, balloon flower, bleeding heart,
daylily, delphinium, geranium, hollyhock, iris, marigold, pansy,
petunia, salvia, snapdragon, and wax begonia.
Garden slug feeding on a hosta leaf
Slug damage on a hosta leaf
There are several methods to rid the garden of slugs. One of the most
effective ways to control slugs is to hand pick them (wear disposable
gloves). Go out to the garden after dark with a flashlight and pick
them off the plants. Another way to trap them is to lay a board on
the ground near the plants being eaten. In the morning, turn the
board over and remove all the slugs that have crawled under it during
the night. Do this every day and you should see a significant
reduction in the number of slugs after a few days.
If handpicking is not for you, another way to control them is to use Diatomaceous
Earth, a natural slug control. Diatomaceous
Earth is made from the fossilized skeletons of diatoms, a
microscopic sea animal. (Use the Diatomaceous
labeled for garden use, not the one used in swimming pools.) Its
microscopic jagged edges actually scrape the slug's body as it slides
across it. Sprinkle it on the soil around your hostas. Reapply it
Slugs are attracted to yeast. Bury shallow cans up to the rim in the
garden around your hostas and fill them with an inch of beer. The
slugs will climb in and drown. Replace the beer every few days or
after it rains. One teaspoon of yeast combined with three ounces of
water also works.
Click here to read more about
Diatomaceous Earth and order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.