Don't Forget The Ammonia Bath

Ludi _PA_7aApril 7, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Just a friendly reminder since the majority of us are 'pipping' at this point.

10% Ammonia Solution (1 part Ammonia 9 parts Water)

Mix up a batch or two and water all your hostas that are just emerging. No need to soak, just enough to go down about 2-3 inches.

Don't pour the mixture on the leaves if they are beginning to unfurl. If they are a bit unfurled then carefully water the soil directly around the crown.

The goal of this is to kill any snail and slug eggs that may be lying dormant in the soil near the crown.

I just watered all my pots today and I thought it might be helpful to others as a preventive. My hostas in the ground have not begun to emerge. When they do I will bath them as well.

Happy Gardening !

Ludi

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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Thanks for the reminder, Ludi. Today I was doing some repotting, and using new pots which had spent the last two days sitting on the ground upside down. Well, don't ya know I was disgusted to see 7 slugs inside the bottom one, and had to break out the Natria stuff to sprinkle in that wet area of the garden. So the slugs are back. Have yet to see one eating a leaf, but I'm sure they are hungry and ready.

I'll break out the ammonia tomorrow.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:23PM
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Ludi _PA_7a

Indeed Mocc :)

You grow 'em a lot bigger down there where the air is warmer and wetter. They smell 'Mama P' and are eager for a snack. :p

Hahaaa . . . for some reason I just remembered Paul's Hobo Slug picture.

Paul if you are reading this please delight us and link it again.

Good times :p

Ludi

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:34PM
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timhensley_gw

Thanks for the reminder!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:35PM
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don_in_colorado

Ahem...Paul....HO-BO SLUG! HO-BO SLUG! HO-BO SLUG! HO-BO SLUG!!......If you please...

Don B.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:48PM
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paul_in_mn(4b)

I'm a travelin' slug
and I've made a lotta stops
all over the town
And in every yard
I own the leaves of at least one lovely plant

Apologies to Ricky..

Paul

Here is a link that might be useful: Ricky Nelson - Travelin' Man

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Ludi _PA_7a

Yessss !!!!

Thanks Paul ;)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 9:55PM
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don_in_colorado

NICE!! Thanks!

Don B.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:10PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

I found this one which sold from an Etsy store.
I think yours is much cuter though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Harry The Hobo Slug

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 11:30PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

I can just hear Ricky Nelson singing that song...even w/o clicking on the link.

We get 1" snails here and I invest heavily in Sluggo. It is what works for me here, year around.

-Babka

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 11:46PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

One inch.....something similar to ours I suppose.
The ones I found today were about that long, inside a new black nursery type pot. I set it in the sun where it took no time at all for the 7 slugs inside to put on their travelin' shoes.

.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 11:59PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

The 1" refers to the size of their shells. When they get extended, on the move, they get longer. The gluey spots/dots on the deck and sidewalk are about 3/4" apart. Do you have snails down there in Mobile? Escargo?

-Babka

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 1:12AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

great reminder...

let me add.. 10% vinegar.. is the same..

BUY WHICHEVER IS CHEAPER in bulk ...

either has the pH that irritates them to death ... and the hosta dont mind the higher pH .. within reason ...

i dont know why it has to get 2 to 3 inches into the soil ... since slugs USUALLY dont burrow down ... but that would depend on how porose your soil/media is ...

it IS A CONTACT kill ... NOT a preventative ...

and dont forget my mantra.. kill momma in spring ... and you wont be battling her 50 million progeny in fall ...

ken

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:21AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Babka, I was referring to slugs and not snails. However, we have very tiny snails that are easily crushed, and also their small shells are found beneath pots and such, empty of life. Our SLUGS are about 1".....I suppose the snail shells are about 1/4".
If there are other kinds out there in our area, I'm not aware of them.

Early in the year 2012 I applied the ammonia bath and thereafter the presence of slugs was few and far between. Which is why I was surprised at all the slugs beneath my upturned new pots, waiting for me to use them. It is an on-going battle. Considering that they can enter the pot through the drain holes, I'd just as soon give a full soil soak to make sure I get them all.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:02AM
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hostafreak

I don't have to drench my hostas,as I don't have a really big problem with slugs. When I see one,it gets zapped with the ammonia and water solution. Slug bait isn't for me. I think it just attracts slugs;after all,it is a BAIT!! Just my experience. Phil

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 1:51PM
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Ruth_MI(z5MI)

Wow - I'm taking it by all the replies that this really works, and I (duh) have never heard of it. I have TONS of snails in my yard...ha, but not this year, not now. :-)

I have no pips showing yet, so I guess I'll wait until they are then give them a shower. I assume it's OK to use this around other perennials as well? (I'm thinking mostly of my ligularias.)

Ludisia - thanks for the post!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 4:25PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

The leaves of the hosta aren't usually affected by the Ammonia spray, but other plants' leaves might be, so be careful.

tj

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:25PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

In the next few days I expect to see signs of slugs and snails. We had about 3 inches of rain today, possibly more. It will take a while for the ground, and my pots, to dry out.

I've already noticed a couple of the sweet and tender newly unfurled hosta near the ferns have slug holes in some leaves.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 2:03AM
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gamountains

Wonderful tip! I'm a newbie to this forum and thought I gotta keep my Hosta looking good into the summer. They always look so wonderful until the the dead of summer then they fade...and slugs do cause some damage.

Sorry for the confusion about the application of ammonia, but the preventive measure once they are emerging is to get the first few inches of the soil wet enough? Let's say we have a 6 inch diameter of pips (new word for me)...pour about four ounces in and around the area?

Thanks!

Or a better option is to mix up a batch in a weed sprayer? That to me sounds more useful.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 5:58PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Be sure the sprayer hasn't been used before with weed (and hosta) killer and to mark the weed sprayer well that its for Ammonia only.

tj

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:39PM
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Ludi _PA_7a

Hi Mountains,

Ken actually clarified my original post. The ammonia bath is not a preventative, but rather a direct contact. When the 10% solution hits the slugs and slug eggs they die on contact.

I mix up the solution in a bucket to make sure I have enough room for proper proportions, and also because I usually end up needing 3-4 watering cans worth. Once mixed, fill up your can and water the pots like you would normally. Make sure to cover all exposed areas of the soil.

The reason I prefer to do this in spring is the hostas are not beginning to leaf out yet. Some people say the solution won't burn leaves, others think it does. I'm too scared to find out, so I stick to before they have leafed.

I added the 2-3 inches in my original description to make sure readers understood this is more for the soil than contact with the plant. The depth doesn't matter so long as you make sure you killed what will mostly be at the surface.

The link that Tim posted for the hanging gardens recommends using a similar solution only with raw garlic for when the leaves are fully emerged. I plan on trying this, this year.

Hope this helped clear up any confusion and thanks for posting.

Stay long enough and you might not be able to get away. We're quite the enablers.

Ludi

This post was edited by Ludisia on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 19:50

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:46PM
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gamountains

Thanks Ludy:

Guess it doesn't hurt to get after those eggs?

This is a big weed sprayer like 3 gallons. I haven't had any weed killer in it for a few years. More for watering seedlings.

By the way, something is already getting at a few Hosta, and it seems like only one flavor is liked. I have nill rabbit problems, never have fortunately. No deer either. Maybe because I live in the sticks and they don't see people much. I do have one chipmunk. Yes, only one chipmunk. Hard to believe eh? The critter is only seen in this area.

I've seen some talk about slug holes. No idea what I'm looking for. Any clues in this pic?

http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l391/kdfisherga/hosta-leaves.jpg

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:24AM
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livelydirt(Zn 4, Lively, ON)

I've used this ammonia defense for years on slugs, caterpillars (army worms), earwigs, Asparagus worms of some sort.... if it's a bug of some sort that is damaging my garden, this has been my first line of defense. However, I was recently asked by a knowledgeable university educated (in agriculture) market gardener if the ammonia might be killing the soil bacteria and microbes. I don't know. Does anyone else have knowledge of this possibility?

P.S. I have sprayed 10% ammonia on leaves of all sorts and never seen damage. If you are concerned about this, spray then rinse with water after ten minutes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lively Dirt - The Garden Blog

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 11:41AM
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beverlymnz4

Gamountains, not slugs. It could be deer. They some times leave ragged edges. Cut worms usually go strait-line across, so probably not cutworm damage. Maybe Rabbits, I have a rabbit problem and they keep coming back to the same hostas. For me it is one of my early risers that also is not as thick substance as some others. I had no rabbit problems for a while, and then one year a gazzilion (very large number). Last year back to very few. Rabbit populations can change quite a bit from year to year. One big Owl can make a difference. Hopefully you will get some more responses from people with more hostas than I have.

Good Luck
Beverly

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:33PM
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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

gamountain,
The damage could be from caterpillars.

Deb

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:58PM
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livelydirt(Zn 4, Lively, ON)

I've used this ammonia defense for years on slugs, caterpillars (army worms), earwigs, Asparagus worms of some sort.... if it's a bug of some sort that is damaging my garden, this has been my first line of defense. However, I was recently asked by a knowledgeable university educated (in agriculture) market gardener if the ammonia might be killing the soil bacteria and microbes. I don't know. Does anyone else have knowledge of this possibility?

P.S. I have sprayed 10% ammonia on leaves of all sorts and never seen damage. If you are concerned about this, spray then rinse with water after ten minutes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lively Dirt - The Garden Blog

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 12:18AM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

Well done blog there, Mr GW. Really enjoyed reading about the untimely demise of Ms. Bee Gonia at the hands of Jack F. Rost.

We have quite a few Ontarians frequenting the forum, so come back any time, with your hosta observations.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 2:00PM
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