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Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

Posted by memphistigerlily 7 (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 28, 08 at 12:21

My front flowerbed is infested with slugs! I noticed my annuals that I planted in my flowerbed werent fairing so well. At first I thought it might have been that cold front that snook up on us for those 2 nights. I had just planted them that Wendsday, a couple days before the swap. I know probably still a bit early but I was so excited for spring. But rookie mistake on my end. Well during those couple of cold days I covered them up and they seemed to do just fine for a week after that but then I noticed my Gerber Daisies not looking so good about a week afterwards. I though maybe the cold had effected them and maybe it was just now showing signs. Since it wasnt all the way dead looking I was hoping a little sunshine and rain would nurse it back

Then it rained real hard a few days last week and Friday I noticed this weekend my geranium looking kind of shabby, that kind of annoyed me but I though the rain could have just bet them down. Since it rained basically all weekend I didnt really spend any time in the front yard.

Well I go out there this morning and I noticed them looking horrible! Im kicking myself because I know its my fault for not doing anything about it earlier but I have never had a problem with slugs at all so I didnt even thing that could have been the cause. My flowerbed is clean; I cleaned it out early march and put fresh dirt and mulch in. The kids a street over were doing a church project were they were mulching neighbors flower beds, as a "do good for your community" so I let them put more mulch on to. I bet that is were them slugs came from. Because my mulch was dry when I put it down, theirs was wet and all horse poopy. Anywho its not their fault if that is the case but

What do I do, how do I get rid of them. They have probably killed all my annuals; I had a couple of orangish-red Gerber daisies, yellow geranium and then a couple of red Delilah. (To match my yellow and orange lilies that are coming up, and my newbies to my bed, a new orange day lily and yellow and white iris that I planted to, that I got from the plant swap)

Thanks goodness my lilies haven't bloomed yet because I would be livid if those were messed up. I mean don't get me wrong I am pissed that the $40 worth of annuals I planted are probably going to die but my lilies are my babies and they come back so nicely every year. They are getting really bushy so they might be blooming soon so I need to get rid of the slugs. I didn't have time to mess with them this morning as I was on my way out the door for work (and running late as usual on a Monday) so I am just going crazy sitting here thinking of them sitting their chomping away. I wish I would have had time to remove the ones I saw. I almost thought about doing it but didn't think my boss would understand me calling in late with a flower emergency :o)

Any one have any "organic" remedies they could share. I read somewhere they suggested putting Epson salt down around the flowers. Said it would kill the slugs and make the blooms more colorful at the same time. Then I read to put beer out to attract them to the beer instead of flowers. Anyone ever try either of these or another method that worked for him or her. I feel really bad killing them, but I dont want them to destroy my flowerbed. Plus I definitely dont want them to get to my veggies in the backyard.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

I have used beer before and it worked. I just put beer in a shallow container (I think I used an old frisbee) and set out in the evening. In the morining when you wake up the container will be full of drowned slugs. They are kinda gross looking but it makes you feel better knowing you are winning!!! You may want to put out several containers.

Mary


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

Thanks Mary! I have a few old frisbees laying around. Now at least they will get used for something! Ahhh the wonders of beer!!! :o)


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

Try Slug Magic. It's safe for pets and wildlife but really does in the slugs.
I didn't have to use it last year, thanks to the birds. When it was so dry, bigger birds hung out at my water gardens and stuck around to eat the slugs.


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

Slugs and snails hate used coffee grounds. Grab some from your favorite coffee shop and sprinkle the grounds around your plants. They're neutral ph and high nitrogen, too.
Cheers!


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 28, 08 at 22:55

I've never heard of the coffee grounds trick. Does it just repel them or kill them? How well does it work and how much do you have to use?


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

Opperation Death by Beer was a sucesssful mission! I sprinkled epson salt down and lay some beer out in an old frisbee. I peeked in there on my way to work this morning and there were 6 expired floaters :o) I actually felt really bad for having to do it but hey, whats a garden girl to do?

Thanks for the coffee grounds suggestions, I am going to go grab that out of the coffee pot here at work real quick. And do that and another layer of epson salt and a nother dose of beer again, to get any of the slimey surrivors left


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

Drunk slugs! Slugs wired on caffeine! Slug Magic!

The cartoon possibilities are endless here. I'm seein' some of them there Yazoo County Slugs movin' north up into Sheby County to make it in the big city. Here come Marcel Slugbetter, Uncle Versie Slugbetter, Newgene Slugbetter, Udell Slugbetter, Uncle Denny Slugbetter, Clovis Slugbetter...look out Memphis! Youll have a time with the Slugbetters in the Pink Palace and The Peabody, Slugbetters crossing the DeSoto going to Mud Island, Slugbetters making the pilgrimage to pay their respects at Graceland, Slugbetters studying the Pyramid, Slugbetters at the Zoo and the BEST... Slugbetters takin' over Beale St!!!

It's hard to believe that Clower has been gone almost ten years now. What a funny guy! You marry a gal who's first name is Homerlene and you gotta have a great sense of humor.


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

Did ya'll know that the hops in beer is what poisons the slugs? Doug picked up that little tidbit over the weekend from a master gardener he talked to.

Jeff you're too much!


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

I read a report of a study where they busted the "coffee and slugs" thing. But coffee is GREAT for the garden and worms go crazy for it, and my blueberries and azelia's love it too.

Starbucks gives out their used coffee grounds free for the asking... they have a "Grounds for gardens" go into any Starbucks and ask about it, if they don't know what you are talking about ask who the Green Team Captain is and talk to them. This time of year, I usually collect (2) 5 gallon buckets worth over the course of a week. Go in on the morning, tell them I'll be back before closing and they save me all the espresso and coffee grounds for the day. Mondays and Thursdays are the biggest haul days.

Back to slugs.. copper mesh works, they won't cross it. Diatomaceous earth is moderately effective as a slug barrier, as is lava rock. Beer is the "instant gratification" remedy.. You can grow hops as a repellent, rhizomes are cheap and if you know a home-brewer they will be happy to help you with the harvest, since hops prices went crazy over the past year.

You can also just pour the beer out in a ring around the garden and slugs won;r cross it for a day or three. Which is also a suitible use for most commercial beers like bud, miller, mich, coors, etc. etc.\ Don't eat yellow snow, don't drink yellow beer!

Ahh magical BEER! Helping white men dance since 1862.
Beer! Helping lonely people get laid since 3500 BC!

Here is a link that might be useful: Starbucks' grounds for gardens program


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

You guys are to flippin funny! Thanks for making my morning


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Glad to help...


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Always at your service!


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

before we know it you will be outside with a flashlight after the little buggers!!!! (no I am not admiting to have done that)

Mary


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

Hey, you guys made my morning!

Larry Tucker, big time Hosta expert in Memphis, did an experiment a couple of years ago on coffee grounds in his Hosta garden. He said it definitely worked. As for other things to try, I've read to put a board or other flat material like maybe cardboard down overnight, then the next morning turn it over and pick off the slugs hiding there. Yuck, yuck, yuck, but anything to kill the slimy critters. Oh, another thing you can do is spray the garden with ammonia - I'm not sure of the dilution though. Ammonia will kill the slugs and at the same time provide nitrogen to the plants.

The methods posted already are about all I know to do, but I can add a prevention for next year - do not mulch areas you intend to plant things slugs love because the slugs lay eggs in/under the mulch. Hostas actually do better if they are not mulched since they grow better in cold zones, so you'd be doing them a favor.


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

I like going out with my flashlight looking for them. It's fun! I use a spray bottle of ammonia -better for plants than all that salt- and it immediately kills the slugs. I usually do this each night while the dog does her nightly business.


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

Somewhere (in a magazine?) I saw where someone found putting a ring of pennies around her plants effective slug deterrent. It also seems as if it would be more permanent, easier and cheaper than a lot of other gardening solutions. I've never tried it, but probably will this year with all my hosta.

Last year, I used some slug bait from home depot. It worked well, but am trying to learn organic gardening methods. It would also be a good place to put pennies that get dumped out of my pockets! :-)


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

I save and crush my egg shells. slugs do not like cut bellies. Has worked for me. Plus they may want some eggs with their morning coffee. Could help them with the beer hang over too.


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I hate to say it but we've had the slug problem for several years. Slug bait got expensive, some is toxic to pets. It wasn't effective after the next rain. Coffee acts the same as diatomaceous earth they won't cross it. Coffee is cheap when you can pick it up for free.

Our local starbucks puts it out by the garbage bag (heavy 50-100# easy.) Free to whomever wants it. Most days they add bags three times a day.

I scattered it over all my beds. Not a bite anywhere last year. I bet between my yard and the neighbors, I put down 300#, total 1/3 acre of flower beds?. Surprisingly, probably coincidence we had no insect problems... No whitefly, aphid, or slugs. (Plenty of butterflies, bees, and humming birds.)

I think it even helped break down our clay!!

I will definitely do it again for the flowers. I don't see a benefit to the shrubs. Those hostas and flowers look so pretty with leaves, no holes.


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

sandsquid, I found quite a few studies that support caffeine as a slugicide. I don't think that's a word, but it should be! I posted a link to one study and found more by searching on the gw site.
I have been on the used coffee grounds train since I moved to this garden. I didn't want to jinx myself by stating to ya'll that I have not seen a single slug since I started mulching with coffee grounds, but I must confess it is true! I'm totally with flowermom, too, on the lack of insect pests. UCG's are just the bees knees!
Beer is for drinking! Coffee is for recovering from drinking beer! Repeat! Recycle the grounds! I'd say recycle the beer, too, but that's for the compost forum!
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: caffeine kills slugs


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

While I GREATLY appreciate all that used coffee grounds do for my garden, and make 2(x)weekly pick-ups at Starbucks and the entire weeks collection of grounds from 4 different "coffee messes" out at the base. I have to rely on factual scientific data. for example the study by Richard Hollingsworth et al of the US Department of Agriculture Research Station, Hilo, Hawaii. A spray of 1 to 2 percent caffeine is sufficient to work as a neurotoxin killing very small slugs & snails within 48 hours of ingesting a treated plant... Another study comes from Peter Usherwood of the University of Nottingham & upholds Hollingsworth's findings. Usherwood too showed that if an entire plant were sprayed top to bottom with liquid caffeine in 1-2% solution, then the smaller slugs & snails that ate the plant would die within two days of having eaten the plant. But Usherwood found that plants also had a negative response to exposure to the caffeine. Leaves became yellow from toxification.

Because spent grounds were not the focus of the two studies above mentioned, it's still an open issue to what degree, if any degree, coffee grounds might echo the effects of liquid solutions dousing whole plants. The factors, however, would be more complex than gardeners seem to realize. Spent grounds don't usually have much caffeine in them; & anyone who brews decaf beans, well, the active ingredient just won't be there at all. Fresh 100% Robusta beans do in fact contain 2% caffeine Robusta is the most bitter tasting of beans as a result, but if you could get whole fresh Robusta beans, grind them up, & sprinkle them fresh (rather than spent) throughout the garden, then it'd contain the amount of caffeine known to act as a slug neurotoxin. But it would have to be control-tested to be sure, as slugs would have to ingest it to be harmed, & if they bypassed it entirely, in favor of a tasty plant, then it would be useless as a bait.

HOWEVER, there is quite the popular & misguided misrepresentation these studies have proven coffee grounds kill & repell slugs, they have in fact proved nothing of the sort. Spraying the plant with 1-2% caffeine is what has the effect, not coffee grounds, not even coffee.

For a brief Citation of Hollingsworth, R.G., Armstrong, J.W., Campbell, E. 2003. Caffeine as a novel toxicant for slugs and snails. Annals of Applied Biology. 142:91-97.

See the below link:

Here is a link that might be useful: CAFFEINE AS A NOVEL TOXICANT FOR SLUGS AND SNAILS


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I don't put much stock in studies. Stats can be skewed anyway you want them to be. I would rather rely on personal experience.

Mary


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

By all means, keep on keeping on with the coffee grounds, as I certainly will... Just don't expect it to be all that ends all for slugs.

The thing that still puzzled me is that earth-worms absolutely LOVE coffee grounds, and apparently slugs don't dig it so much.

And my flower beds smell like Starbucks every time it rains!


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I can't stand the smell of coffee (ok everyone thinks I am weird) But maybe for my flowers I could tolerate it.

Mary


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Same here; I hate coffee and the smell of it brewing!


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  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Thu, May 8, 08 at 14:21

Mary, Can you clarify what you meant when you wrote, "I don't put much stock in studies"?

I've heard other people on Gardenweb saying things like this, but I don't understand why. People used to say that to Galileo, but I am shocked when I still hear it today.

Maybe you meant that you thought a particular part of the studies mentioned needed further review, but, if so, can you elaborate? Studies similar to the ones Sandsquid mentioned have been performed a number of times. I've seen some of the conclusions from similar studies and would imagine that at least some of the findings have been proven beyond reasonable doubt.


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I guess seeing is believing. There are some people like myself that are more tactile in learning. You start reading one and it turns into blah, blah, blah. And from a personal experience (I work in the medical field) I have seen some studies performed and know that the person doing the study can bend their results to show the results they want to be seen. Gardening is a personal experiences. A labrotory or a study can not recreate the personal experience of getting mud on the gloves. Cause thats what it is all about. Gardening is by its very nature emperical in nature. All the rationalizations in the world can not explain why something grows in my garden and why something else doesn't. Statistics and studies are fine... but I have to ask the question... Where's the love?
Its like the Old Sam Episode of the Andy Griffith show. Howard wanted to go fishing for the first time. Read every study he could. Took enough equipment to start his own commercial fishery. He could quote optimum tempratures and proper depths. In the end though after catching nothing, he just sat on the bank and let nature take his course. He ended up catching fish with a piece of chicken salad sandwich. The lesson?

Statistics are great... wonderful... and in they prove nothing to the gardener. The proof is in the pruning... and planting, and harvesting. Thats what its all about and THATS why I don't care for studies. When someone can make a statisic out of a summer day, a glass of ice tea or a hummingbird... THEN I will embrace studies... until then help me putter about and come on a journey with me.


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I guess I see these things from almost the opposite perspective as you do. When I hear the Andy Griffith story, I immediately recognize that it makes for good entertainment but varies considerably from my experience in real life. I will say that you do a good job of making gardening sound like poetry in that last post.

For me, gardening is about understanding how things work and enjoying the results achieved by learning. The more I learn about the physics and chemistry of gardening, the more successful I am at it. When something goes wrong (a plant dies or bugs start devouring everying in site), I depend on science and the results from "studies" to know how to address the issue. Modern organic gardening is especially dependant on science and results from scientific trials (both formal and informal). Without science, achieving results would be based entirely upon luck.

I almost always look at a minimum of two sources for information, just in case one source is either mistaken or, in rare cases, misrepresenting the results of their study. With the internet and modern communication, misrepresentations are usually exposed very quickly.

Maybe gardening in a mystical or artistic manner is more fun. It does sound like it might be less worries. But it's just not me. When I have slugs, I want something that is proven to get rid of them without damaging my plants or the environment.


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RE: Help!!!! Slugs infesting my flowerbed

Mary and Brandon, I have to agree with both of you. Mary, I can understand your love of gardening, and don't want to take the love out of it to make it science. I am a gardener too, but I used to be a scientist, but then I guess there's never a "used to be" - I always will be a scientist whether or not that's what I do for a living. When I was working at it I was a botanist and worked in several different labs, both at universities for scientists on faculty and at medical centers for doctors/medical school professors. I used to be the one doing those studies, and like Brandon, I firmly believe in them. The journals where my work was published are very careful and have other scientists review the papers before they are accepted for publication. I remember one time when I observed something and repeated the experiment over and over always with the same result- like you said, Mary, - seeing is believing. I spent mind-boggling hours and hours, days and days, on the microscope counting and measuring to get sufficient numbers to be able to run statistics on. We called in the professor who taught the university Biometry course (biometry = the science of using statistics in life sciences). She worked on the numbers for a couple of weeks then told us she couldn't back up our findings. There was some missing data we had no way of obtaining. We were so disappointed, and that study was never published. I suppose we could have bent the rules as Mary said she observed, but we were ethical and just kept of working trying to fill in the blanks so we could eventually report our findings. Yes, there are disreputable people who publish studies that are questionable. Some have actually "padded their data" and reported findings that were false. Some of those people have been caught too and have lost their jobs and reputations! I still believe what I observed is true, but nobody in the scientific community will ever hear about it because my boss and I had more integrity than the people Mary described.

A few posts back I mentioned a guy in Memphis who did an experiment with coffee grounds in his garden. If I had said he did a study that included statistics, Mary, would you have believed what he observed?

Scientists actually DO garden and get dirt under their nails and mud on their gloves.Alan Armitage and Michael Dirr (you are probably familiar with those names) established studies at the University of Georgia on garden plants. Those studies find varieties that are best suited for our Southeastern US hot, humid, climate. Please check the link below that describes that they started and how it effects our gardening. You have to believe those "studies". Your gardens probably include some of those plants Drs. Armitage and Dirr found to be ideal for us to grow. I know I check the The Gardens at UGA to learn about new plants that can be counted on to grow well for me because they're suited for out climate and the UGA studies prove it. Looking at the results of those studies saves me a lot of money and time too. Time I can be enjoying my garden instead of worrying about this and that plant that I never should have planted in the first place.

I hope to still be digging in the dirt when I'm in my 80's and 90's. Maybe by then some scientist will have come up with a foolproof way to eradicate slugs from our gardens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alan Armitage and Michael Dirr at the University of Georgia


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