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Hostas+ Slugs= Aaaagh!!

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Question from Val Barclay

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A few weeks ago, I bought 4 separately named hostas from J Parkers. All started to grow beautfifully (the White Feather variety is a bit fragile) then, as weather has warmed up the beautiful leaves are getting frilled and eaten. Having been to Chelsea this year, where the theme was 'green' and whole Hosta displays took my breath away, I am in despair as to what I can do - all my garden has been watered with Nemaslug, organic animal-friendly slug pellets used and copper around container Hostas; I've even experimentally used coffee grounds or egg shells (dried) around hostas in the ground. Any ideas PLEASE!! Oh by the way, I've also lost 4 Dinner-Plate Dahlias which all started to look really healthy.

  • Views: 673
  • Replies: 8
  • Posted: Thu. 10th June 2010 12:27

Re: Hostas+ Slugs= Aaaagh!!

Reply from Karren Towgood

I had the same problem with some newly planted Hostas, and also tried a number of things including the nemaslug. The nemaslug didn't seem to do much at first, but then I gave them a second heavy treatment about 4 weeks after the first treatment and that seems to have done the trick. Not sure how many times you have tried the nemaslug but maybe it is worth another go?

Karren

  • Posted: Fri. 11th June 2010 07:36

Re: Re: Hostas+ Slugs= Aaaagh!!

Reply from Val Barclay

Thanks Karren - I was going to do a repeat dose at the end of June anyway (after 6 weeks), but will probably water in again before this - thanks for advice - what a pity I really like Hostas and Dahlias!! - Val

  • Posted: Sat. 12th June 2010 13:56

Re: Hostas+ Slugs= Aaaagh!!

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Val,
I feel your frustration - I had a constant battle with slugs attacking my hostas when I lived in London. What finally worked for me was to accept that I had to put them in containers and wrapped the containers top and bottom with copper tape. That kept them out.
Kathy C

  • Posted: Tue. 15th June 2010 22:06

Re: Re: Hostas+ Slugs= Aaaagh!!

Reply from Val Barclay

Thanks Kathy - I've just potted up 2 more Hostas from the ground before I lose them completely! Also ordered some copper tape online, so I'm hoping I can save them during the summer. Thanks again.

  • Posted: Sun. 20th June 2010 20:10

Re: Hostas+ Slugs= Aaaagh!!

Reply from Ena Ronayne

OMG Val these wretched creatures are really trying your patience! You poor thing. You seem to have tried almost everything so I am afraid to say unless you become extremely vigilant and that means going around methodically to every single plant to check for slugs, snails you will need to rethink your planting scheme.

I too have tried all of the above and find the best medicine is that of nature - can you encourage birds and frogs into the garden at all? These natural predators will solve your problem but it will take time.

You will have to work with natural predators to build an ecosystem where no slug would dare live! You must remember slugs, snails like cool moist places so maybe a new planting plan is the order of the day with hostas and dahlia confined to pots?

Post some images of your garden and I will gladly give you some suggestions if you like.

  • Posted: Thu. 17th June 2010 18:54

Re: Re: Hostas+ Slugs= Aaaagh!!

Reply from Val Barclay

Thanks for your ideas - unfortunately my few resident frogs and thrushes can't cope with the snail numbers! Also the numerous hedgehogs that regularly visit my garden ( I rescue and feed babies during the winter months- then they stay around the area ) will munch through some slugs, but the orange ones that we get are quite large. I'm now reverting to my "mad old biddy" strategy of scouring the garden, armed with torch, trowel and bucket of salted water at midnight every 2 days! Thanks again.

  • Posted: Sun. 20th June 2010 20:22

Re: Hostas+ Slugs= Aaaagh!!

Reply from Greenwich

That short-term, continually-in-need-of-renewal aspect is a fundamental problem with the slug-pellet approach. One heavy shower of rain and the whole lot is more-or-less gone just at the point that the molluscs are planning their biggest raids on the foliage.

Plus there's obviously the whole question mark over safety for wildlife. Birds like thrushes are inevitably going to be attracted to and feed upon exposed, dying snails, and that can't possibly be sustainable in their food-chain and reproductive cycle.

We use Nemaslug here, but I do like the visible barrier approach too. Crushed egg-shells rely on their spikiness to deter the slugs, but the best barrier material I've found is by EcoCharlie & it's made from recycled crushed ceramic shards. As well as having that spiky deterrent effect the ceramic bits absorb the mucous trails and physically stop the slugs and snails from being able to move across it. One good application generally lasts for the whole growing season at least, so in the long run it's much cheaper than most alternatives.

You can also set "traps" outside the barrier to collect the slugs. Any flat, moisture-trapping material (wood, stones, even old carpet) will create ideal daytime hiding places that will allow you to collect the slugs. The good old beer-trap collection approach works even better.

  • Posted: Wed. 23rd June 2010 17:44

Re: Re: Hostas+ Slugs= Aaaagh!!

Reply from Val Barclay

THANKS so much Greenwich - had never heard of product EcoCharlie, but found it on Selections, have immediately bought 2 bags (at cheaper rate) AND a new wooden composter which is far cheaper than all other sites. I really hope that the ceramic samples are successful but I'm really grateful for a new idea and a new gardening site - thanks again!
P.S. At midnight last night, I collected 48 snails in a 3m square patch!

  • Posted: Thu. 24th June 2010 12:26