Eating Small Sunflower Plants - Knowledgebase Question

Hatboro, PA
Avatar for Abialli
Question by Abialli
June 7, 2000
I have planted sunflower seeds three times this season. As soon as the sunflowers appear and just start to open the first set of leaves something eats or snips them off. I have the raised bed that they are in covered with twine;thinking that it was the birds eating the young sunflower plants. Could this be a slug problem? If so could I put a boarder of salt all the way around the bed? I do not use mulch. I do not have weeds or rocks for them to hide. I do see snail slime. I check the bed for snails and have only ever found one. What can I do?????

Answer from NGA
June 7, 2000
How frustrating! Since you see that tell-tale slime, it is probably slugs. They work at night which would explain why you haven't seen any. You can hand pick them at night by flashlight (barbecue tongs work well!), set out traps baited with beer, or sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the plants to control them. There are also some newer less toxic baits on the market such as Sluggo and Escargo. Salt can build up in the soil so it is better to try another method.

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