Hostas forum: Something is eating my hostas.

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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
May 27, 2014 4:03 PM CST
I have some hosta I planted this spring, Golden Tiara. It is being eaten up. I can't find any worms on the plant so I am inclined to think it is slugs. Some of the leaves have small holes others have chunks missing along the edges, some of them up to half or more of the leaf is gone! This happened in the past week. How do I tell if it is worms or slugs and if I spray them lightly with sevin dust will that deter slugs? They are mulched around with hardwood mulch planted under a Hemlock tree. Please help before they disappear altogether!
Name: Karen Skedgell-Ghiban
Nashville, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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Tepelus
May 28, 2014 5:39 AM CST
The chunks sounds like cutworms. The Sevin dust should help with them. The small holes is most likely slugs. You'll need to use Sluggo or something similar for the slugs. Sevin won't have any affect on them. Some people use an ammonia spray to kill the slugs, a ten to one mixture (ten parts water, one part straight ammonia) and go out in the evening or early morning and spray the slugs directly.
Name: Gerry Donahue
Pleasant Lake, IN (Zone 5b)
Hostas Garden Ideas: Master Level
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profesora
May 28, 2014 6:02 AM CST
You also need to move your mulch at least 8 inches away from the base of the crowns because that is where the slugs live.
Name: Ann
Ottawa, ON Canada (Zone 5a)
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ViolaAnn
May 28, 2014 6:41 AM CST
Good advice above. It's also helpful to get out really early in the spring and dump the ammonia mixture on the base of each plant before they unfurl as it will also kill slug eggs. And I agree with the cutworm diagnosis for the large holes.
Ann

Pictures of all my hostas, updated annually and tracked since 2008 begin at: https://violaann.smugmug.com/Garden/Hostas/Hostas-in-my-gard...
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 28, 2014 7:10 AM CST
I have heard that putting beer out at night will kill slugs, does that actually work?
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
May 28, 2014 7:20 AM CST
So good to see this post this morning, because when I came in from taking pics "What is eating my hostas" was the number one thing on my mind. I mix up a spray bottle of Ammonia and water and go out several times a week spraying the hostas and surrounding area, like shooting a water gun.
I very seldom actually see a slug, but the spray seems to melt him when he is hit.
Anyhow here are a few pics and I will number them so if any one replies you can refer to the pic and say something like picture one is slug damage, pic two is cutworms, pic three is both etc.
Keep in mind that these are all growing under large oak trees and some of the damage actually could be caused by small limbs falling.
1)
Thumb of 2014-05-28/Seedfork/ab4cc4

2)
Thumb of 2014-05-28/Seedfork/0e7e2b

3)
Thumb of 2014-05-28/Seedfork/71ccab

4)
Thumb of 2014-05-28/Seedfork/3dc8e0

5)
Thumb of 2014-05-28/Seedfork/279872

Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
May 28, 2014 7:21 AM CST
Beer in a shallow container will attract them. Also halves of an eaten grapefruit laid cut side down. Check them in the morning......
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
May 28, 2014 7:22 AM CST
Frilly, the beer only kills the slugs by drowning them, it is placed in a partially buried container and the slugs attracted to the yeast in the beer fall in and drown, not very effective for me.
Pittsburgh, PA (Zone 6a)
arf2d2
May 28, 2014 11:24 AM CST
My dad used to use beer out in the yard with good results. He did check them every day (or sent his kids to check) and changed it when necessary. Diatomeceous earth helps too, but be careful not to inhale any.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
May 28, 2014 11:34 AM CST
arf2d2
Welcome!
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 28, 2014 11:53 AM CST
OK so would just a little sugar water with yeast in it work?
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
May 28, 2014 11:54 AM CST
Don't know if they sugar would be necessary, being it is supposedly the yeast they are drawn to.
Name: Ann
Ottawa, ON Canada (Zone 5a)
Hostas Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Composter Region: Canadian Clematis
Canning and food preservation Container Gardener Annuals Herbs Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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ViolaAnn
May 28, 2014 3:05 PM CST
You need the sugar for the yeast to "work". I've seen recipes for using it with a little flour thrown in too, if memory serves me right. Didn't work well for me. Diatomeceous earth has to be reapplied every time it rains or if you water. Gets a bit tedious. I still have the best results dousing the plants with an ammonia/water mixture. And later in the season, I also have a spray bottle, but I also add in some insecticidal soap as I've also seen earwigs on the hostas at night. Beer apparently works, by drowning them, as mentioned above. Seems like a real waste of good beer. My local hosta nursery's owner uses slug bate pellets and puts boards over it in the garden. We can't get the really potent stuff here in Ontario.
Ann

Pictures of all my hostas, updated annually and tracked since 2008 begin at: https://violaann.smugmug.com/Garden/Hostas/Hostas-in-my-gard...
Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Christine
May 29, 2014 6:46 AM CST
I seem to remember as a kid my Dad used salt to kill slugs, is that right or am I thinking of something else?
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
May 29, 2014 7:04 AM CST
Yes that is right, if you put a little salt on a slug it will melt away, but salt is not good to spread around the plants, just sprinkle a little directly on the slug.
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
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virginiarose
May 29, 2014 7:58 AM CST
@arf2d2... Welcome! Welcome!


I use to run get the salt whenever I saw a slug but now I just keep a bottle of Ammonia water and spray around the foliage and sometimes even spray around pots and the house when it rains. You can use any strength you want it will not hurt the plants, it breaks down rapidly into nitrogen. I spray around 25% on everything I have works great on hostas and daylilies, just spray in and around the crowns to dissolve any eggs or slugs that are hiding. I do not usually spray it right on the flower, just foliage.
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 29, 2014 8:09 AM CST
so you have to respray every time it rains? What if it doesn't rain for a while, how long does it work then?
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
May 29, 2014 2:50 PM CST
No, I go out with the spray on purpose because they will be climbing up the side of the house! I am in it for the kill! They love to come out and play when it is raining and I am ready for them. LOL.
This stuff dissolves slugs and their eggs, once they are dissolved they are gone. But you just want to stay on top of it because you are not quite sure where they lay their eggs. I found baby slugs under a stepping stone and under some nursery pots. This is just the fun way to kill them because you get to watch them suffer, the way your hosta suffered. Bad slug!! It's all about revenge.... Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Ann
Ottawa, ON Canada (Zone 5a)
Hostas Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Composter Region: Canadian Clematis
Canning and food preservation Container Gardener Annuals Herbs Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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ViolaAnn
May 30, 2014 3:27 PM CST
Quoted from above in regard to spraying ammonia, "You can use any strength you want it will not hurt the plants,"

NO,NO, NO! If it is too strong, you will risk burning the plants if you spray it on the foliage. 1:10 should be OK. It's ideal for an early season drench. 1:20 should work too to actually spray slugs. But after the hostas unfurl, please, no stronger that 1:10.
Ann

Pictures of all my hostas, updated annually and tracked since 2008 begin at: https://violaann.smugmug.com/Garden/Hostas/Hostas-in-my-gard...
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
May 30, 2014 3:48 PM CST
When did yours burn? I have been using the same solution for everything. Nothing has burned. Confused
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood

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