UACES Facebook Slugs


(September 2006)

QuestionI have planted hostas in pots and other shade areas around the yard. Every year the potted ones lose their leaves eventually, starting at the edges which turn brown. Do you have any suggestions to prevent this? Is this an insect problem or dry conditions? I notice around town there are several plantings that have the same problem. Second, the hostas planted around the trees are obviously chewed off, probably by rabbits. Is there a spray, or anything to deter them? I don't think it is deer because the hostas planted in tall pots are not affected.


AnswerHostas are actually better garden plants versus container plants unless you can assure them ample moisture. If hostas get too dry or too much sun, the edges can burn and they can begin their decline a bit early in the season. With ample moisture and soil fertility, many varieties can last until a killing frost--but there is variability based on varieties. Hostas are salad bars for deer. Rabbits like them as well, but deer love them. They are also a favorite of slugs. Slugs are easier to combat than the animals, but you first need to determine the culprit before you choose your control options.

(May 2006)

QuestionPlease tell me what to do about the creatures that eat my hostas every year! What do I do about the slugs (I THINK) they're the culprits!


AnswerSlugs do love hostas, and this year they are having a field day with all the moisture we have had. Some folks seem to have slugs on top of slugs! There are numerous remedies for slugs. Many have found success mulching their plants with sweetgum balls or eggshells - (it would take a lot of eggs to mulch solid.) Slugs don't like to cross over anything sharp or spiny, so they usually stay away. There are also numerous slug baits on the market, but do use caution as they can be harmful to pets. Beer traps are another way to control slugs--or at least monitor for them.

QuestionI have successfully stopped my slug problem on my beautiful hosta garden!! A heavy load of sweet gum balls as mulch. But now I have these uninvited guests consuming the leaves. Can they be sprayed or dusted now?


AnswerFrom the photo it appears they are lady bugs and lady bug larvae--that is the small alligator looking creature in the picture you sent. They should not be cutting holes in the leaves, but feeding on aphids that may be present. Lady bugs are beneficial insects in all stages, and don't harm plants. Look closely to make sure you have no slugs hiding or possibly caterpillars feeding. There are numerous insects that can feed on hostas, but the lady bugs aren’t the culprit.

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