When to use SuggoPlus?

chickencoupeFebruary 20, 2014


I have the information you provided in my clipped section but Gardenweb errors when I attempt to retrieve my saved clips. it's disconcerting, actually.

When do I put down the SluggoPlus? I hate to do it. The grubs are so wonderful at working the soil, but the army worm infestation, grubs and pill and sow bugs must be managed until the micro-climates rectify themselves. That'll probably be ten years from now. lol

Also, my spinach seedlings are disappearing from the cold frame without a trace of their existence. Slugs? (The lettuce leaves are also gone or chewed upon.)

It's bad.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7


If you already have the Slug-go Plus, I'd go ahead and use it in the area where the damage is occurring. Just sprinkle it on the ground following the label directions. Be sure to keep it off the leaves of the plants. I usually have to re-apply it at least once every couple of weeks and I stop re-applying it only after the problem critters have stopped eating my plants.

Usually if spinach or other greens seedlings are disappearing in my garden at this time of the year, it is pill bugs or sow bugs, and the Slug-Go Plus is pretty effective at dealing with them.

I don't have good enough soil to have many slugs or snails yet, although we do have some snails now.....and we didn't have any at all when we moved here because the garden soil was totally devoid of organic matter. If you think they are the problem, you can go outside and check the cold frame after dark with a flashlight in your hand. They often do their dirty work in the dark. I used to gather them up after dark in Fort Worth and put them in a coffee can with a little salt in it. Or, I'd put them in the can and sprinkle salt on them.

Normally pill bugs and sow bugs are only a minor annoyance, but their population seems to soar after a wet year. Did you have a wet year last year?

Since I have more dry years than wet years, the pill bugs and sow bugs normally focus on breaking down organic matter like mulch and compost, but sometimes when their population is huge, they devour seedlings and even pretty decently-sized plants. They also love to eat melons and tomatoes in the summer months. The one drawback to using loads of mulch here is that it is so nice and cool and moist that it attracts and then shelters the pillbugs and sowbugs.

At this time of the year, when there is so little natural green foliage and plant matter for animals, birds and insects to eat, it could be almost anything eating your lettuce though. If I plant lettuce in the ground too early in the year, birds and field mice devour it. (By too early I mean any time when there is nothing green in the yards or fields for them to eat.) That's why I mostly plant lettuce and other greens in the cattle trough feeder that sits a couple of feet above the ground, and I put bird netting over it. My biggest problem then becomes pet cats who think the bird netting is a cat hammock. (The cats do help keep the birds away from the lettuce.) Whenever you are planting anything at this time of year, remember that all the little living creatures on your property are struggling to find enough to eat at this time of the year and are very hungry after a tough winter. They will be drawn to anything and everything you plant, so you have to work harder than usual in February through March to protect plants from them until more of the natural vegetation greens up.

Sometimes if something is eating your seedlings and you cannot figure out what it is, you can sprinkle a little blood meal on the ground around what is being eaten and it will repel most animals. However, when I do that, I have vultures circling the air above my garden looking for the dead animal whose blood they are smelling.

You can make a simple pest repellent by mixing a couple of garlic cloves in some water and brewing a garlic tea. I just throw the cloves and the water in the blender, give it a whirl, let it sit a while, strain out the pieces of garlic with cheesecloth, and pour it into a hand-held sprayer. Spray whatever you need to protect. Garlic will repel some critters, but not all.

Hope this helps,


    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 11:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Apologies for the delay in response. I've been screaming through a deadline so I can play in the dirt today.

Oh boy, that makes sense. The cold frame is beside the house where I know mice frequent its storage. I leave them to capture spiders and other crawlies.

It was very 'tropicalish' last year. I began wondering if palm trees might suddenly appear on the horizon.

We're like and island of indifference to the outside world. I thought the drought, for us, was over until we experienced a freakish Siberian dry winter leaving only the lower portion of my land with moist soil and egregious layers of soot on our interior walls.

Today, we coughed our way through the fertilizer section of Atwoods for no good reason. They had no SuggoPlus. An adventure to Wally World is due. I dread it. I know they'll have pretty green things to buy, but it's too soon.

I shall find a way to elevate my spinach and lettuce seedlings so, eventually, I can heave a plateful.

Thanks for the garlic tip. I'm all over that one!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 3:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Slug-Go and Slug Go Plus can be hard to find. I have to drive to Denton, TX, to buy it at a nursery there that has a large organic product section. Before I started finding it there, I had to drive to Southlake, TX, or order it online.

There are some other brands of organic slug killer on the shelves here that have the same active ingredient as Slug-Go (Iron Phosphate), but I've never found one that has both of the active ingredients found in Slug-Go Plus (Iron phosphate and Spinosad). Sometimes I just buy one of the Slug-Go type products that contains only iron phosphate and then I sprinkle a different pest product I have that contains Spinosad (usually it is Concern, which I keep handy to fight the fire ants) along with it to get the same effect as Slug Go Plus. The Iron Phosphate product I most often see on the shelves in big box stores here is from the Ortho Elementals organic line. I believe I have seen it in Lowe's and Wal-Mart, and there's a different one (I don't remember the brand) that I've seen at Lowe's.

For anyone new to this discussion, it is the iron phosphate in the Slug-Go that kills snails and slugs, and to some extent, sow bugs and pill bugs as well. The active ingredient in non-organic snail and slug killer is dangerous and I'd never use one of those products. Never have and never will. Many of us gardeners used Slug-Go off-label (i.e. for a purpose it wasn't labeled for) to kill pill bugs and sow bugs for years, and then finally the maker of Slug-Go came out with Slug-Go Plus aimed at killing the pill bugs, sow bugs, earwigs, cutworms, snails and slugs. I found Slug-Go fairly effective as it was, but the Slug-Go Plus is even better at killing the sow bugs and pill bugs.

Our weather was really wet in the fall which, obviously, was too late to help last year's garden since the rain started falling in decent amounts after the garden was dead, but it does mean that we still have great moisture levels down fairly deep underground right now. Sadly, not much rain has fallen in recent weeks, so the top few inches of soil are pretty dry, but if I dig or rototill down about 6-8 inches I find the soil that is still fairly moist.

I hope that the January-February rainfall are not indicative of what sort of rainfall year it will be. They're usually our driest months here at our house, anyhow, so I never really expect much rain at this time of the year, but this year the rainfall has been much below average and that's making me feel a little uneasy.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm very grateful you share your extensive experience. I have a real problem with all these over here and would have lost a lot of hard work without your help. All of these congregate in the areas I'm amending. I don't blame them, but ....

When I was out prepare beds this last week I stumbled across some massive earthworms. Never have I seen such huge earthworms in Oklahoma. I'm pleased.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 12:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Bon, I'm always glad to help.

Earthworms are the best soil helpers around. One way to help attract them is to lay down cardboard under mulch. It is like the cardboard "calls" them to come to the area. I always have the biggest, fattest, healthiest earthworms in the soil beneath mulch piled on top of cardboard. You should be happy indeed to see them. They are worth their weight in gold.

Decomposers like pill bugs and sow bugs always will be attracted to an area where you are adding copious amounts of organic matter....they show up to break it down. In that sense, they are helpful. Unfortunately, most of the same little creatures that help break down organic matter also will eat young seedlings, particularly very early in the gardening season. Because we are so dry here, I generally don't have a pill bug/sow bug problem in the summer months, though they often are troublesome in spring.

If my memory is correct, the years I have had the most trouble with pill bugs and sow bugs was in the year of/year after very wet years. For me, the very wet years have been 2004, 2007, half of 2009 and most all of 2010. Sometimes I can go years without even needing to use Slug-Go or Slug-Go Plus, particularly when we have drought years back to back. It only takes one good rainy spell early in the season to make their population explode though.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yippee!! I bought my very first certified potatoes from Atwoods. Walmart didn't have any more Sluggo or the Plus. The only ingredient I could remember was spinosad. While at Atwoods Bill found some spinosad. (That was expensive.) Should be sufficient! When we got back I told him about the iron phosphate.

He seems to think he can make iron phosphate? Anyway, I'm not worried about snails and slugs. It's everything the spinosad covers. I see it's good for bag worms, too. Handy.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 6:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Spinosad is very handy. Did you know its active ingredients were originally discovered in soil at an abandoned rum distillery? Somebody got creative and gave their spinosad product the best pesticide name ever. Check out the link and see if the name makes you giggle.

Here is a link that might be useful: Captain Jack's.......

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 6:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 8:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been "lurking" and learning from all of you for a couple of years. Thought it was about time to say hello and thank you for all of the knowledge you share.

I am in the Osage Hills NW of Tulsa, trying to grow things out of a bunch of rocks. Tilling is pretty useless so I am trying to build my soil - using wood chips, making compost as fast as I can and using anything organic I can find.

The soil is getting better every year and I am looking forward to '14. Last year was good - especially later in the summer when we finally got some rain.

Except for green beans...as a rule, they germinated just fine and then promptly disappeared. I think you all have pinpointed my problem - thanks so much.

I am planning to 1) start seedlings in containers and let them get some size before putting them in the ground and 2) try some Sluggo Plus for direct sowing.

Here's to a good year for all and thanks so much, again, for all the information.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 1:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hiya Barrels!

This group is awesome and Dawn has a treasure trove of knowledge and experience. Sorry to hear about all the rocks and your green beans. Hope this solution works with your seedlings!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

A timelapse of slugs and beer.....

Here is a link that might be useful: A timelapse of slugs and beer.....

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 9:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Hi Barrels,

Welcome to the forum. I'm glad you decided to stop lurking and start talking!

Unfortunately, green bean sprouts are very appealing to lots of pests, including cute little bunny rabbits.

If you are losing the young bean sprouts at night, it could be almost anything getting them. I don't have many snails or slugs because I have red clay soil, which apparently isn't their favorite soil, but the areas that have been heavily amended are starting to have snails occasionally. In my garden, which generally is heavily mulched most of the year (I pull back the mulch in early spring to let the soil warm up), it normally is pill bugs or sow bugs that live in the mulch and generally focus on decomposing organic matter. I guess they are extra-hungry in spring and will eat all sorts of sprouting plants, but particularly marigolds and beans.

Cut worms are a major problem for some people, but I usually don't have major damage from them here, unless we are having an epic cutworm year like we had 3 or 4 years ago. If you have cutworms, you can find them in the soil, just below the soil surface, right in the area where seedlings disappear. Slug-Go Plus is pretty effective on cutworms too.

If you are going to start green beans inside and transplant them out into the ground, be sure you don't let them get too large before transplanting them as they really don't like to be transplanted and can sit and sulk in a major growth stall after being transplanted.

My brother gardened on rocky land and it was terrible. I finally spent one long spring digging all the rocks out of his garden and replacing them with a purchased soil/compost mix. It was amazing how good the garden was after that, but digging out those rocks was an all-day job for about 3 months and if I had been smarter, I just would have helped him build raised beds above the rocks instead of trying to remove them all.

Love the Yard, That is an old, reliable method of slug removal, although my husband (who is not a gardener) considers it a waste of perfectly good beer. I used it in Fort Worth several decades ago because we had lots of slugs there. I cannot speak for anyone else here on this forum, but I've never had slugs here in OK. I think our dense red clay doesn't appeal to them because it is so lacking in organic matter, or maybe it is our almost perpetual droughts that discourages them. It took me at least ten years of soil improvement before a handful of snails even showed up. Pill bugs and sow bugs though? We have them by the billions living in our 10 or 11 acres of woodland, and some years they moved to the heavily mulched veggie garden in great profusion. I only started using Slug-Go and Slug-Go Plus for the pill bugs and sow bugs....never have had to use it for slugs.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 8:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the video love_the_yard

Its interesting that most of the slugs weren't harmed. I wonder if a taller container would help them fall in.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 2:16PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
2015 Spring Fling Anyone?
It must be so. I've reserved a porta-potty and marked...
Lisa, did you see: Work starts to protect monarch butterflies
Their bright orange and black wings are a familiar...
Question on my potatoes
I planted the first week of April. They're strong and...
Seedy Saturday Seed Swap
Seedy Saturday Seed Swap. February 28, 2015 When I...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™