The Q&A Archives: Slugs On Perennials

Question: What is best way to prevent or eradicate slugs on perennials? My garden was chewed up by slugs last summer, especially hostas, dahlias, and daisies.

Answer: There are lots of ways to foil slugs, and I suggest using a combination of tactics. You can make life hard for them by removing leaf litter or other mulch from the soil surface and spreading a thin layer of sand or crushed egg shells on the ground instead. This will do away with their daytime hiding places and create a rough crawling surface which they should avoid. Spreading a layer of diatomaceous earth around the base of your plants can help, too, the sharp particles slice open their tender bellies. Many folks use beer traps, Burpee offers a "Slug Bar" for this very purpose. Simply fill with beer at night, the slugs crawl in...but they don't crawl out! You can obtain it by calling Burpee at 1-800-888-1447 or by visiting the website. I have heard that slugs are more attracted to non-alcoholic beer, but any beer should do. Also, many gardening catalogs carry copper slug barrier tape (Gardener's Supply Co. 1-800-863-1700; Garden's Alive 1-812-537-8650). If slugs attempt to scale it they'll sizzle to death. One other bit of trivia for you, the variety of hosta 'Sum & Substance' is highly slug resistant if you ever want to give it a shot!

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