ammonia spray on slugs

plantknitter(8)May 7, 2008

does anyone know the recommended proportion of ammonia and water to kill baby slugs in the crown of plants?

Is it different for plants in pots than in the garden?

I have read anything from a minimum of 1/10 going up to 50/50!

I guess one could always start with the minimun and check results getting stronger as needed, but not so to damage the leaves depending on the plant.

I was wondering about spraying campanula in pots at the nursery that came in with baby slugs hiding out.

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flowerfan2(z8/ WA)

Hi Judy, I have always used 1 part ammonia to 2 parts water. That has always worked for me and hasn't damaged the hostas. I should get out there and start spraying. I have noticed those pesky baby slugs hiding in the uncurling leaves. I have never used it on campanula but I am sure it would work without hurting them. Karen

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 10:03PM
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I use one part NH3 and 4 parts water on EVERYTHING that I find them on. It also does the job on snails.

The best thing is that I have a good spray bottle and can get them from 6 feet away. No need to climb thru the bed.

I find that if I go out a couple of times a day this time of year, they really get under control pretty quickly.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 12:49PM
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Can one do it on veggies also?? If so how long before harvesting can this be done safely? Do you use the regular ammonia?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 12:55PM
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little slugs just ate most of my cilantro planted yesterday.should i spray with ammonia mix?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 12:53PM
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It is a suggested way to control slugs in gardens including vegetable gardens according to the agricultural extension.
The ammonia spray needs to hit the slugs. It won't kill slugs that come by later where the ammonia has dried.

Baby slugs do not eat the sluggo bait.

I would try the most diluted amount (5 to 10 %) on seedlings and go up on more mature plants.

But your seedlings probably do not have slugs hiding in the plant crown itself, look for the slugs in the surrounding vegetation, hiding next to plant tags, under any debris, along any raised bed border structures, lumber etc.

Go out at night with a flashlight and early in the am and check where they are coming from.

Oh and leave some chopped up slugs lying around the perimeter, more slugs will come by to cannibilize and you can hit them there.

Here is a link that might be useful: extension link

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 10:16PM
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Is there any type of plant or tree that ammonia hurts?

I have a terrible slug problem in my swampy yard and this ammonia spray sounds like the easiest way to zap lots of slugs at once, 2X / day.

How does the ammonia water kill the slug?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 11:43PM
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so the slug debate continues:
Last night I put some copper tape around they are not suppose to cross it.Well maybe the existing ones got my newly re-planted cilantro again and destroyed half.They either crossed the tape or were already present in the soil.I did pick quite a few still present around my cilantro.The baby slugs did consume sluggo bait and they are gone now and my greens survived nicely.I now put more sluggo bait because I don't have more cilantro for them.
so for me so far the bait works the best.I get the expensive one so if the birds get to it no problem.Can't see trying to go and catch them all at night ..They would win I have a good number of them..

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 12:12PM
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How long does the ammonia sol'n take to kill the slugs? I've just spent the last hour spray huge slugs, to very young slugs, and they are ALL quite alive. I used 1.8 oz ammonia to 2 cups water.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 4:41PM
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Since slugs used to rule here next to the forest & no longer do thanks to my attitude/actions using Worry-Free slug bait & ammonia water. Various ratios with more water than ammonia 1:3 seems to work just as well as 1:5. I don't bother measuring just eyeball it. Buy 2 jugs of non-sudsy ammonia & after you use the 1st down to 1/3 left you can fill with water & use it for your mixture bottle. Be ready for battle!

Just because I'm bigger than the slugs & need to be encouraged in the battle, I consider the battle won, but continue to fight.

Skip spraying...
...ferns & tender young plants. Lady fern especially hates the ammonia by showing brown spots & curling. Nicotania darkens as well with it. slugs as it wastes time, ammonia & doesn't seem to stop them if they're already wet & slimy. Just skewer 'em *use what you have around, chopsticks work nicely, but I prefer the native twigs I have so I can just toss into compost piles (Think slug kabob)

-Do spray undersides of leaves & inbetweens if you can reach them (some of it trickles down inside of daylily folds, etc.)

-yes, spray at night w/ flashlight; better yet a headlamp
-spray after you water or after rain showers have stopped
if rain doesn't stop spray get out & spray anyway
-several times a week, daily if wet weather

Do continue to use Worry-Free or Sluggo or you won't win the battle because the slugs are sneaky & move when you're asleep despite your ammonia spraying.

Kids love to do the squirting if you do it along with them. I follow so I can see if they miss some. They love to go fast & beat you. Makes it more fun for everyone. Celebrate with a treat inside after you've washed your hands well & reloaded your squirt bottles. Squirt guns work, but seemed to empty too quickly & are a bother to fill.

Good luck slug warriors! We're winning, right? Humor me, please. I have to win the battle or it's grocery store veggies for us once again.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 4:41PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I have a friend who puts nursery pots full of empty beer cans throughout his garden. The slugs crawl in and he hauls them to the recycle center and gets the going price of recycled aluminum for slug meat.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 12:42PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I cut one in half the other day and the front half slimed away like there was nothing wrong with it.....

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 11:56AM
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Corrine 1. Yes, about the adult slugs. I hadn't seen any other posts about that..but that's what I found too...that's why I posted the question. Doesn't seem to phase 'em. Does do well with the younguns tho. My ferns don't seem to be affected at all. They'd rather go for anything else. I let up for a few days, probably about 4, sprinkled some slug bait...must have rained, but their were at least 10-12 new fatty slugs. Bait didn't kill 'm , did attract them to the right spot tho...then I "poked" 'em. got 'em all. Very satisfying.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 2:21PM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

And what is wrong with gloving up and going out in the early AM with a bucket of salt water? Very low tech, cheap and not dangerous in the slightest.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 8:15PM
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Lady ferns are what seem to brown up. Maybe it's not the slug spray, but a lack of water in my large containers.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 6:47PM
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I no longer skewer slugs and toss into the composter because I found a slug crawling the next morning with the little stick I'd stuck into it and into the ground the night before. Evidently they can break the stick free and crawl away with the stick in them.

Now a bucket of soapy water is my slug hunting companion along with a piece of window blind as my slicer or picker-upper to toss into the bucket. A straight sided stick also works, but a round one only works for skewering. I know it's disgusting, but so are slugs in my strawberries. I dumped my slug bucket the other day far from the cultivated garden because it was rather ripe smelling.

Since the rain has returned be sure to be on the slug hunt. Set out a board or even piece of cardboard flat on the soil to scrape off into the bucket in the morning. I've been out every morning and found fewer today because they're not hiding now that it's wet everywhere. I doubt I've killed off the population that much.

Time to reapply iron phosphate types of slug bait and be on the alert for those slugs. Buckets, watering can, edges of pots, gaps in mulch or stick debris in the garden... are all hiding places. Go get 'em!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:18PM
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raehelen(USDA 7-8)

Persistence definitely wins! We've lived here in Fort Langley for 16 years, and when I first started my slug hunts in the wee morning hours I could fill two small pails with slugs and snails each day... I had to squish them all...agree with posters that you don't want to see any sign of life...or they may just crawl away...

I started the ammonia/water spray about 10 years ago, can't say I'd particularly noticed that it didn't work on adults, but then those I usually stomp or fling over the fence! Now when I go out on my regular stroll, I don't find very many at fact...haven't even made up a batch of ammonia spray yet this year...have placed a few slug bait traps...around the tricyrtis and Iris...

So, being diligent about picking off and or spraying slugs and snails, combined with some type of bait traps will pay off, and mean that those plants that once could not survive will thrive!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 1:44PM
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I found spiking slugs tricky because they are so slippery so have begun using a pair of scissors which is easier and enables me to reach those at arms length.The satisfaction always gives me a thirst for wine.

Does pet friendly slug bait actually work? When I use the deadly bait I see slime trails from dying slugs but the effect of pet friendly bait is less evident. I am now using nematodes but a friend told me that the large slugs leave trails that kill newly hatched 'baby' slugs so killing the hatched slugs only makes it easier for the unhatched to get going!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:14AM
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I read somewhere that cheap BBQ tongs work great to pick up the slugs and drop them into your soapy water.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:11PM
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1) MOST 'pet friendly' slug bates still have have active ingredients (listed and sometimes unlisted) that activate iron. Which still makes them dangerous to use.

2) Some one asked above about why not use water and salt. The reason why not is simple: Salt is also a 'poison' to hosta.

3) Ammonia spay and 'slug boards' (which have a time commitment tied to them for daily cleaning) seem to be the best combination to slow slugs. In addition the ammonia decomposes to add nitrogen to the ground which in many times benefits the hosta.

4) FYI: Slugs are hermaphrodites, as they EACH can reproduce on its own. You miss that last slug, and you still have the problem.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

P.S. Bob Axmear (Hosta Fame) is the one who pointed out to me the effectiveness of slug boards.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 8:28PM
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