Seedlings & Black Mondo Grass

cat_delgado(6 - Ansonia, CT)February 1, 2010

Okay, so last year I was busy with my own version of "this old house" and neglected to learn how to care for all my little seedlings and inadvertently ended up giving a smorgish board to the slugs, grubs and local squirrels.ARGGGGG! This year I am better informed and ready for war to keep my many seedlings alive! so my questions is, what are your methods of protecting the little plants till they are a little bigger and able to withstand some nibbling and do black mondo grass seedlings come up green and turn black as they get older or are they black from sprouts?? I can't find any in depth information on black mondo grass anywhere. I know that most seeds do not come true from seed but I would like to know at what point they turn black!!

Thanks to all!! Can't wait to finally meet you all at this years spring swap

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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Cat, with the very rainy and cool weather we had last Spring/early summer, the slugs went nuts on my seedlings and some young plants. I have never lost seedlings to squirrels though?

What seems to work pretty well for me, is to pull back any mulch from the seedlings, and then apply Sluggo or Escargo to the area every couple weeks. These are iron phosphate slug baits that are safe for wildlife, pets, kids, etc.

Mindy from the Arbo-retum has reported that an ammonia solution works well too.

Re: the Black mondo grass - have not started this one from seed personally, but since it is a cultivar, my guess is that it is unlikely to come true from seed.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 8:32AM
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cat_delgado(6 - Ansonia, CT)

Thanks Terrene, I have heard about sluggo and escargo but I can't find it any of the local stores. Where can I buy it and when is the best time to start applying it? March? April? when do the little beasties start to rise from their graves? :) oh yes, I know that mondo grass isn't true from seed, I just wanted to know when they sprout what to look for. I plan on giving away the extra and don't want to give away black ones if they turn color as they mature.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 11:09AM
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asarum(z6 Boston)

I am guessing you may a pioneer grower of black mondo grass in the New England forum group. I can't get it to return in my yard, and I am guessing that only people in the warmest parts of New England can grow it. Therefore the pool of New Englanders who might be adventurious enough to try this is small. If you don't get an answer you might try posting to another forum where it would be see by more people from warmer zones.

Otherwise maybe black mondo grass is just another one of those mystery plants I can't grow. But I think it is a zone issue.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 1:11PM
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I can't say anything about black mondo grass coming from seed, but the ones that replicate themselves through runners in my garden come up black from the first little nub I see. I'm in zone 6b and my grass is happy and spreading after two winters. Here is a picture from last summer. From The Serendipitous Garden

I just went out now and counted at least 10 little babies, all completely black.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 3:34PM
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cat_delgado(6 - Ansonia, CT)

Wow, thanks, beautiful picture. I can't wait to have some of my own, hopefully I won't kill it all in my nieveness. I was actually able to find on another forum that when started from seed they come up green and turn black with maturity. I've actually gone seed crazy again this year so hopefully I'll be able to see a few take root and grow up before the slime monsters come out. Uh, should I start killing in March or when is the right time to start watching for them?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 3:55PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I've purchased Escargo from Gardens Alive (mail-order company of organic products) and bought Sluggo at the local Mahoney's nursery. They both seemed to work equally well. There is a new Escargo that they claim lasts for 4 weeks.

I spread the slug bait when planting out the seedlings, and reapply every couple weeks or after a hard rain. Once the plants get large enough, they suffer much less from a little slug damage, but the little seedlings can get wiped out really easily.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 9:29PM
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You definitely want to harden off your seedlings before planting them out - they're tougher and less tasty after being *slowly* given more wind and sun. Seedlings are difficult, some of us lazy gardeners (or those who don't have good indoor growing conditions) have resorted to purchasing seedlings at local nurseries in early spring - much easier! Not to say that seedlings aren't fun, of course they are, and when they survive they give you a great sense of accomplishment.

I start spreading escar go or sluggo when I first see signs of damage, usually after a nice warm spring rain. Hostas make great "coal mine canaries" because the slugs will attack those first (unless there are delectable tender seedlings available!)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 1:48PM
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Wow, Lisa, I'm amazed - I'm sure I've tried Black Mondo in the past, and never had it do well in my garden. It's a great plant, and it's really encouraging to see that it can actually grow here. Maybe I'll give it another try this year...

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 12:31PM
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Dtd Here they are from a couple of weeks ago. You can see all the babies from the one original plant. I don't know why they are happy, but they are. I can bring some babies to the spring swap if you want. I didn't realize people had trouble with them.

Lisa From Drop Box

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 6:16PM
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