Watch out for slug damage on newly planted flowers and vegetables

Question: Slugs damaged a lot of my flowers and vegetables last year right after I planted them. They also riddled my Hostas. Would it be helpful to control them before planting? Are there controls that will not be harmful to my children, pets, and wildlife?

 Answer: I would definitely recommend applying bait for slugs the minute you plant new plants. A preventative application would also be helpful.

 Slugs hide in the soil during the daytime and feed at night. They hide in moist areas and under materials sitting on the soil. Apply slug bait in those areas and around perennials as they start to grow and when planting new flowers and vegetables. The best time to apply slug bait is in the late afternoon. A light sprinkling of water just after application enhances the attractiveness of the bait to them.

 Baits containing metaldehyde are the cheapest. Baits which contain iron phosphate are safe to use around children pets and wildlife. Bait which is not eaten by slugs and snails will degrade and become part of the soil. Deadline is another very effective product for snail and slug control.


Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

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