All Things Gardening forum: Coffee grounds... Advice needed - ASAP!!!

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Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
May 15, 2015 6:00 PM CST
Our hostas are literally being shredded at the moment! Grumbling im sure some of you have seen my recent posts about it...? we have tried just about everything you can imagine to stop/kill them. you name it. other than coffee grounds. we've never tried coffee grounds. but ive been hearing a lot about the, "its the caffeine that kills them" thing lately. so I bought a three pound can of it. looking for tips on how to use it most effectively. sprinkle a light dusting? a heavy caking? re-apply when it gets wet? feeling helpless Sad help!!
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
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pirl
May 15, 2015 6:40 PM CST
I think people are talking about using coffee grounds, not pure coffee out of the can.

I strongly doubt that it's the caffeine that bothers them but the grains of coffee against their tender undersides.

Until you get the problem under control, can you dig them and pot them up in fresh potting soil to keep them safe?
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
May 15, 2015 8:04 PM CST
It is the caffeine , the grinds help as a deterrent but it takes 2% to kill so a spray of a strong coffee is better.
http://www.plantea.com/slug-baits-coffee.htm
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
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pirl
May 15, 2015 8:11 PM CST
Thanks, Bob. I read the entire article and have been using coffee left in the pot, at the end of the day, to water my hostas only because those two fields are not part of our irrigation system. Odd how luck and circumstances can work out so well.
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
May 15, 2015 10:20 PM CST
ok, so me and my girl are not coffee drinkers and we don't have a coffee pot. will plain dry coffee grounds work? say if we were to sprinkle a layer of them around certain plants?
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
May 16, 2015 12:34 AM CST
I don't drink coffee either so I can't give you any first hand experience, but I've read that caffeine is also toxic to plants. You may want to research that before pouring unused coffee grounds on your cherished plants. Used grounds have much of the caffeine leached out in brewing so it's not really a concern with those. I'm sorry that I don't have the answers for you regarding caffeine's effect on slug or plant health, but hopefully someone will. Smiling
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
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extranjera
May 16, 2015 5:23 PM CST
I guess you've tried beer? I had the best luck with that. and cheap beer too, they didn't like the good stuff we had left over from a party once.
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Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
May 16, 2015 6:05 PM CST
Jonna - yeah, we tried the "beer in the bowl" thing. honestly, it didn't catch a single slug. Sad
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
May 16, 2015 6:14 PM CST
im also officially calling B.S. on the whole coffee thing as well! we don't drink it or make it here so we have no "used" grounds, so we decided to simply sprinkle it around a few choice plants to see what happens. we did a slightly heavy light dusting of it. heres what happened: more of the same slug chewing mayhem! we may as well not even have bothered with it. there was a nice aroma of coffee in the garden, but there was slug slime all over the grounds and the hostas that have suffered the most damage in recent days were hit hard again...
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
May 16, 2015 7:29 PM CST
It is not an immediate kill. I sprinkle it in my Hosta garden every Spring. I swear by the stuff. I did not lose anything to try because I got the coffee free because I stayed at the hotels and they put it in the room every day. They were eating my hostas. They were terrible. Since I started using the coffee every Spring I do not get any holes.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 16, 2015 7:30 PM CST
Have you tried Sluggo ? (it's safe for pets, and I believe approved for organic gardening, although not positive about that...)
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Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
May 16, 2015 7:54 PM CST
If you ask a lot of the Starbucks and Dunkin donuts around here will give them to you.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=14...
It does take a few days to take effect.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
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pirl
May 16, 2015 7:54 PM CST
I'd dig them up, pot them, sprinkle the surface of the soil with an inch of perlite and see what happens.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
May 16, 2015 8:21 PM CST
I'm not sure how alkaline a soil hostas can stand, but if I was at my wit's-end with slugs I'd try dressing the stem areas with paver base. It dries quickly and its little particles have sharp edges, but it doesn't disappear after a rain. It's relatively inexpensive, and it's widely available. I think I paid about two dollars a 40# bag the last time I bought some.

Just a thought for consideration... Smiling
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Name: Elfrieda
Indian Harbour Beach, Florida (Zone 10a)
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orchidgal
May 16, 2015 9:58 PM CST
@riverman123 -- if yu have a Starbucks nearby, they usually save the used coffee grounds, bag them and put in a container near the door. You can ask them. A couple of these shops don't do it anymore - although it is a Starbucks policy. I had a bit of a beef with top management over this as it's part of their recycle, green program. Sometimes though they are leaving it up the individual manager regarding the used coffee grounds. My personal experience has been that one place is on top of it and willing to do it; another -- well, they can't be bothered. Check one or two of them out.
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Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
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riverman123
May 17, 2015 12:40 AM CST
Wheedwacker - yes, it works, but only part time it seems. not nearly as effective as its made out to be. at least not for us. I used to use Cory's because it would kill on contact. which was great! hard to find now around here though.

Cinta - perhaps I applied my coffee grounds wrong... how do you do it? a light sprinkle or more heavy? im assuming you surround the entire plant? how soon do you reapply it after it rains or while its raining?

Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
May 17, 2015 6:05 AM CST
Coffee is an organic solution, but if you don't mind an inorganic solution:
Copper metal in the soil, and sprinkling Epsom salts works for me.
I use old copper pennies near plants which are attacked by small slugs here.
I buried copper pennies when I planted hostas, but the hostas are not up yet here.
Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
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freedombel
May 17, 2015 8:47 AM CST
I would not put the coffee grounds down thickly, it makes water not able to penetrate if applied heavy, I sprinkle it around
in a fair but not heavy amount. I was not doing it as a slug deterrent, but as nourishment for my rose garden and in my compost
to attract worms. Luckily so far no slug problem in my Hostas but as a preventative put jagged egg shells around and was
surprised to see that mt Rat Terrier was eating them, but has since lost interest.
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Name: Elfrieda
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orchidgal
May 17, 2015 8:59 PM CST
You should also put a broken pot or something turn upside down with some access to the inside of the pot. The will see out dark, shady and cool places. Put you dish of beer in there and check in the morning.
“I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen”
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
May 18, 2015 5:34 PM CST
Have you tried drenching the soil around your hostas with diluted household ammonia? Aim for 1-2% ammonia. This also kills eggs.

"Household ammonia ranges in concentration by weight from 5 to 10% ammonia."

So dilute that by 5 times or ten times:
5-10% divided by 5-10 = 1-2% by weight, effective on slugs & eggs

If you start with something lacking perfume, ammonia is pure fertilizer and used as such by some farmers. After the slugs have had time to die, you might water the area you sprayed, to dilute the ammonia further and wash it deeper into the soil where it won;t evaporate and be lost.

It might be wise to wash off the leaves of delicate plants if you hit them with 2% or stronger ammonia. Maybe with a hose sprayer on "mist". Many plant leaves don't mind being sprayed with 1% ammonia or weaker (according to what I've read on the Internet).

It's also a way to kill them if you're squeamish. Adjust the sprayer to "jet" and shoot them from a distance. Put out cardboard or wood planks at night. Slugs will collect under it. Int he morning, flip the board or cardboard voer and spray the slugs you see.

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