What's Eating my Ligularias?

Oakton, VA(Zone 7a)

This is the first full year for my ligularias and something is eating the leaves? What is it and how do I prevent it next year?

I love the big, bold foliage and that they bloom after the spring frenzy is over.

Thumbnail by sdagutis
Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Though I don't have that problem here, I understand slugs can be very fond of ligularias.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

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.

Oakton, VA(Zone 7a)

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. ;)

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

They sure are blooming nicely for their first year. They must have been nice plants when you bought them.

Oakton, VA(Zone 7a)

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.

This message was edited Aug 10, 2007 6:56 AM

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

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.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

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.

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

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.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Well actually I put the singles there just in case because in fact the dogs dont go into the flower beds! And the hostas are so big you cant see the shingles.

Somebody else locally has a slug control method using amonia - I will see if I still have that info. and send it to you if I have!

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

You have to find the slugs and then spray them with ammonia.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Well yes but that was not what I was after.

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.
Good Luck!"

I have not personally tried this method.
carol




Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Sounds as if it's worth a try anyway. I have tons of terracing so it would take a lot of ammonia water but maybe I'll do it in the spring - although snails and slugs are a year-round problem here.

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

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

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

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!

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

well i never heard of the grapefruit idea. thats really good. how ever no one here eats the darn things. but im going to try the salt water idea. early in the morning????? you have to pick them off?

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

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.

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

wow thats a gret idea fancyvan i think we have some old boards in the back pile.. thanks ronna

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

And if you are not averse to using a few chemicals sprinkle slug bait underneath the boards .

If I have slugs on the hostas I have a supply of cedar shingles I use underneath them .

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

Hey Fancyvan, I amd oing the whole pieces of board thing now and its really working well... Thanks for the tip Ronna

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

You're welcome - glad to here it worked for you!

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

I will try and remember to get some ammonia and spray it in the spring 1 part ammonia and 10 parts water correct???? Sounds like a wonderful idea to me. When do slug eggs hatch??? Ronna

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Does anyone know exactly when the 2 applications of ammonia water should be made?

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Cant remember when my slug/ammonia article was dated but in any case I would do it in the spring.

Auburn, AL(Zone 8a)

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.

(Zone 4a)

Surroud the plants with rushed egg shells.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

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.

Auburn, AL(Zone 8a)

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.

San Diego, CA(Zone 10b)

Hymenocallis, perhaps you could take a pic of your "slug bar" for us? I would like to try the beer thing again...sluggo does work everytime, but it's expensive if you have a large garden...

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

EWWW -- a photo of 500 slugs!

San Diego, CA(Zone 10b)

I know, sounds gross! But as long as they are having a beer instead of eating our plants...heheheh

Auburn, AL(Zone 8a)

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.

San Diego, CA(Zone 10b)

hahahahahha!

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

I was starting to have the slug problem again. I caved and started using the sluggo!!! I love it, it works wonderful... Thanks for the tip Doss. Ronna

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Just hope that it works for you Ronna.

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