You indeed have slugs or snails. They just love the ligularias but don't bother the farfugiums - funny, huh? You need to snail bait and they will be fine next year. I use Escargo (Sluggo equivalent) every two weeks from the spring on. Deadline works better but I have little dogs I have to worry about.
I really appreciate your help. I, too have a small dog. Sadly, a geriatic, who has to take stairs to get to the ligularias so doesn't give them a visit. He supervises me from the deck when I'm working in that bed. But I'll be careful with what I use to do battle with snails and slugs in case Max decides to act young for his age. ;)
doss, I've had really good luck at Merrifield Gardens, a local nursery. I go so often, they know me by name. It's a little embarrassing. They were planted last fall after they had finished blooming, so I guess technically it's not their first year in the bed as they went through a winter.
How lovely to have a wonderful nursery locally - and don't be embarrassed because they know you. Makes you a tried and true gardener! I bought my ligularias mail order so it's taken them several seasons to get mature enough to bloom well. I wish that the local nurseries were a little more adventurous.
If you are going to put slug bait around the base cover it with something like pieces of cedar shingles and you wont have to be concerned about the dog. That is what I do with my hosts in a 'slug' year.
Your dog can't move the shingles? There is someone on the hosta forum who takes 6" lengths of irrigation pipe and drills a hole through the middle on one side. Then he injects liquid deadline into the hole. He says that works. I'm sticking to my sluggo.
Here is the suggestion - sort of long but just in case somebody else is interested.
In cidentally you can also shake salt on the slugs or just drop them in salt water.
Also you can just put boards or shakes under theplants ( without any bait) and check them every day - there will be slugs underneath and you can scrape them off or put salt on them or the amonia and they dissolve.
"The key is doing it before the slug eggs have hatched. Ken Beattie from the Get Growing TV program explained that the eggs are laid in the ground, usually along the edges of sidewalks, walls, etc. He also said the solution does not harm plants. I agree have found this to be true.
I use a mixture of 1 part ammonia to 10 parts water. I use a watering can with a small downward pointing spout and pour some along the edges of all sidewalks, retaining walls, the deck, anywhere the ground or lawn meets a hard surface. I do not drench the whole yard nor do I water entire flowerbeds, just the edges. Two watering cans of this mixture does my whole back yard. I especially concentrate on the shady areas of the yard where I used to see slugs or their trails, I do not bother with the sunny front yard as I have never seen evidence of slugs there.
No, I would not water directly on my hostas. nor do I water the soil around plants with this mixture. In fact the hostas aren't even up yet, when I do the first application, which I did 3 to 4 weeks ago. I did the 2nd application yesterday. That should be it for this season.
A good friend who has a major slug problem has found that the ammonia application reduces the slugs, but does not eliminate them entirely. Hopefully if she keeps it up for a few years, it will eliminate them.
I have also heard you can use this mixture in a spray bottle and spray directly on the slugs when you seem them. I have not tried this, because I never see them anymore. No more slug hunting, no more salt, no more beer in saucers. Last year, late in the season I saw one slug on my shady sidewalk. Just one, and no silvery trails or damage to my 16 hostas all season.
It is one of the best gardening tips I have ever tried and I have been using this method for the past 4 to 5 years, so I highly recommend it. I especially like that there are no metaldehyde-poisoned slugs left laying around for the birds to eat and die from.
fancyvan you can also put a small bowl or old can with the top cut off or, cup in a hole and fill it with beer! you just make sure the bowl or what ever you use is flat with the ground fill it with beer and watch the slugs come for a drink and fall in and die. my neighbor swears by this and it works i tried it over night i got about 10 slugs per container. all you have to do is change the beer when it starts to mold on top. well its worth a shot and its kinda fun too. Ronna
Ronna another thing that works is half grapefruit/oranges after they have been eaten - lay upside down, slugs gather underneath, throw out next morning.is only useful if you have somebody in the house who eats them every day!
But the idea of the ammonia spray early in the year isyou get the eggs, so they never hatch so you dont have many to bother about.
I have some slug traps that have to befilled with beer or whatever - trouble is I never remembered to refill them!
My mother used to keep a pail of salt water at the back door, she would go out every morning with rubber gloves on, pick the slugs and throw them in the water! Plus my Dad ate a half grapefruit every morning so she hat lots of those too!
Ronna yes you have to pick them and drop them in the water. Another - I think easier way is to lay some boards or wood shingles around the areas like hostas etc where they are most prevalent and flip the boards every morning - the slugs gather underneath you can scrape them off or sprinkle a bit of salt on them and they dissolve.
I used to do that in my veggie garden when I used old fence boards as walkways.
I know this is too late probably but for all of you with slugs ...beer is your best friend. Pour 3 oz beer in small bowl (preferably short and small) put out 3 or 4 of these near your plants and you will be amazed at how many slugs will crawl in and drown. On the last 3 or 4 nights in 3 bowls I have eliminated over 200 slugs in on rectangular bed 5x12. I actually skipped Sunday and went out last night at ten to refill my bowls (have to dump them when they get 30 or so slugs in them) and by the time I had filled all three there were 5 slugs already in the 1st bowl. This is a good way to avoid chemicals and rid yourself of many slugs.
hymenocallis: I have read that the problem with beer is that the smaller slugs do indeed drown, but the really big ones just enjoy a drink and then go forth and multiply. We use Sluggo, which I understand to be organic and safe.
I think the egg shells do work, but we have too many plants that are slug-bait for that to be practical.
The type of slug we have gets about 3-4 inches long and they drown too. I would agree that at first you catch the smallest ones but after a few nights 2-3 inch ones predominate. It seems its irresistable to them. I have watched them crawl down the edge and take a nip and turn to leave and then something makes them turn around and come back for more (like some people I know). Before I did this with beer they were eating my Zinnia profusion plants something fierce but no sign of damage as I have now caught about 500 out of one bed. My wife thinks they are coming from other beds now to get in on the "beer" action.
As a postcript slugs seem to like Dark beers best, Had to switch to lite beer one night didn't catch many, went back to dark beer and viola they returned. Seems they like Killians Red best and Samuel Adams Boston variety next.