sffog(10/SanFran)February 14, 2010

i think tiny baby slugs have eaten all my collard seedlings

not birds i have bird netting over the area, i don't think snails i don't see any slime, i put sluggo, sluggo plus but the seedlings are just bare stalks even some stalks are eaten down. i need help. thanks

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Slugs leave the same slime trails as do snails.

More than likely you have cutworms. They're the larvae of dull-colored night-flying moths.

The larvae live in the rocks and soil clods and such near the base of the plants. They come out at night.

Go out with a flashlight late and scout around.

BT works.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 8:05PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Could be earwigs. They ate my friend's cabbages this week.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 9:53PM
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thank you , i'll try BT and put some rolled paper to see if i get earwigs

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 12:02PM
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Unfortuantly the best you can do (organically) is go out at night and look. I have just resorted to covering my broccoli seedling with cut plastic jugs, even with going out and searching almost every night they were being destroyed. Beer in dishs will attract and kill them, but they seem to like tender young plants better in most cases.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 10:17PM
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If it was earwigs the Sluggo Plus should have worked, that's what it's for.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 12:49AM
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well what ever IT was, IT won!!i have no more seedlings, kaput!i'll try again after it stops raining. in the mean time i'll start more seeds indoors. i haven't given up, grew them last year

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 10:56AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

We have some of the most impressive slugs. Three to five inches long and one inch in diameter. They are not fast moving but can eat their way down a whole row of seedlings if no one is watching. Stepping on one on a hard surface can easily cause a bad fall. Many gardeners when baiting for slugs only apply bait around the plants being eaten, which allows the slug population to grow unabated in other plants. It is better to bait the whole garden lightly. Al

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 8:41AM
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What has worked best for me is hand picking. Although it seems like there are an infinite number of slugs/snails, it really is possible to knock down the population in several goes at it. Once the dry season comes they will be less of a problem.

Also, clear away as much of anything that can be a hiding place for them during the day. You probably can't protect your entire property (I have 3/4 acre and have had to decide where to grow the most desirable things) but you can protect select beds from their predation. I go out as early as I can with a recycled gallon bucket of salty water, all gloved up and pick the nasties and drop them into their last bath.

Growing in raised beds is a good idea, too. Not every snail and slug has the gumption to climb up several feet to get to their meal. Even if they do, it is easier to remove them and thus effect their gene pool for the better (better for us, that is, as those with the adventuring gene are removed!)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 1:00PM
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gardenguru1950 i got the BT but it raining and i have no more seedlings to spray so i will spray the next batch of seedling once they come up and try again .i also got DE coming tomorrow just in case i need that.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 3:58PM
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bluebirdie(Z8 SF E Bay)

I feel your pain!!!

Slugs here are really aggressive in the wet season. I also resorted to raised beds for all my veggie planting. Slug baits were placed weekly around all the beds. Yet slugs still managed to eat all my fall sowing of Swiss Chard, Gai Long, and Radish seedlings.

So last winter I did what Kris suggested, I started all my Swiss chard and Gai Long in pots, and transplanted them when they're a few inches tall. Radish, I just sow dozens instead of a handful every week. Usually slugs are kind enough to leave me 10% of Radish.

I also tried water with yeast and sugar at night which actually worked before my dogs drank them all in the morning. Picking slugs every morning and dunk them in salt water gets a few. But there must be hundreds out there, if not more.

At this rate, I may just hit the farmers market instead for my greens. But it's just not the same without watching them grow (the veggie, not the slugs)!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 2:51PM
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I think slugs are worse than snails. They are so hard to see. I went out and lifted my stepping stones and found slugs, earwigs and slug eggs galore. I poured boiling water under each step. Maybe I was mean, but they're mean to me.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 6:58PM
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I hate to do it, but I have to second the suggestion for "night hunting" slugs and snails. My DH tries to put a positive spin on this chore by keeping track of my nightly count. I know if my neighbors ever looked over the fence they'd think I look crazy, stalking my yard with a flashlight and a jar of hot water. But it DOES work - do it every couple of nights for a week or 2, and you'll see the population go down.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 7:15PM
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If you live where you can have them, a chicken or a goose will soon dine on those slugs.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 3:17AM
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