How to Get Rid of Slugs Eating Hostas

Slugs are a common pest in your hosta garden. Slugs look like snails, but without the shells. They prey on hosta leaves, which means missing foliage and small holes in your hosta’s leaves. They are annoying pests for any hosta enthusiast and can ruin the look of your garden.

How to get rid of slugs eating hostas

This spring, we’ve been noticing a lot of people having slug problems. Slugs prefer lots of moisture. With all the rain we’ve had this year, slugs are everywhere. They prefer cool, dark conditions, so they usually strike at night or when there is cloud cover in temperatures above 50°F. It is important to be proactive with slugs. It is better to start baiting for them early in the spring rather than wait until you notice the first damage on your hostas. Below are a couple tips on how to get rid of slugs eating hostas.

Tips on how to get rid of slugs eating hostas:

  1. Eggshells – crush them up and place them around your hostas. Slugs won’t crawl over eggshells because the sharp edges cut them. Some people save eggshells throughout the winter months in a Ziploc bag. Then, in the spring when they are dried out, they crush them up and place them around their hostas.
  1. Coffee Grounds – just like with the eggshells, lay coffee grounds around your hostas. The caffeine is deadly to the slugs. They will soak up the caffeine through their feet when crawling over the coffee grounds, killing them.
  1. Beer traps – take a small shallow container (cottage cheese container cut down to an inch works great) and bury it to ground level next to your hostas. Then, fill it with beer. Slugs are very attracted to beer and will fall into the trap and drown. You will want to empty and refill the traps each morning (depending, of course, on how many slugs have drowned in the trap).
  1. Epsom salts – place a ring of the salts around your hostas. The slugs won’t go near it!
  1. Put up lots of birdhouses – birds eat slugs, so having lots of birdhouses around your hostas will attract lots of birds to eat the slugs. Problem solved! I’ve also heard of people placing rings of birdseed around their hostas to attract the birds.
  1. Plant slug resistant hostas – Some hostas have thicker leaves that are much harder for slugs to eat. Planting these will reduce the amount of slug damage. Here’s the slug resistant hostas on our website: https://www.hostasdirect.com/buy-hostas?hosta_slug_resistant=502
  1. Slug-killing products from garden store – you can find several slug-killing products at your local garden store such as Sluggo. These have all been effective.

These are tips on how to get rid of slugs eating hostas that have been effective in the past. You will just need to find the method that is most effective for you on how to get rid of slugs eating hostas.

We’d love to hear about any other solutions that have worked for you! Comment below with any tips!

Shade Gardens

Shade GardenDo you have a shady trouble spot in your yard? Don’t give up hope on these bare patches. Turn these trouble spots into thriving gardens by choosing shade-tolerant plants that are both colorful and easy to maintain.

How much shade?

Categorize your shady spots as light, partial, or dense shade. Partial shade receives some direct sun for a few hours of the day, while dense shade is shaded throughout the entire day.

To add just a little more light, try thinning a tree by pruning a select few branches, bearing in mind that this may need to be repeated every few years.

SoilBeneath Trees

There are additional considerations that complicate shady spots beneath trees. The thick canopy of a tree not only blocks out light, but moisture as well, leaving the soil dry and compacted. If this is the case in your shady spot, spread compost over the area several inches deep. In a year or two, earthworms will move in and help loosen up the compacted subsoil. Wait until you have a loose, crumbly soil before you begin planting. If you don’t have the patience, English ivy (Hedera helix) will grow under such difficult conditions.

Hostas and Heucheras

Design your shade garden

Once you’ve chosen your plants, arrange them from tallest to shortest, with the tallest in the back of the bed. One suggestion is a shade tolerant understory tree such as red or sugar maple or black elder, followed by shrubs like gray dogwood, and filled out with a groundcover of coral bells and hostas.

Hostas and coral bells are particularly well suited to shade gardens as they provide a punch of color to an area that might otherwise be monochromatic and dull.

Plants grown in shade generally are not as dense, have fewer flowers, and their fall colors may not be as vibrant as those grown in full sun. They may also require more supplemental water, but the reward for your efforts is turning a drab, barren patch in your yard into a vibrant and colorful garden bed.

Sources:

http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/xj0028.pdf

All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Resource for Every Gardner, Fern Marshall Bradley and Barbara W Ellis, Editors

 

 

 

Shade Gardens with Hostas and Heucheras

Shade Garden Do you have a shaded trouble spot in your yard? Do you lack vegetation beneath your mature trees? Brighten up this neglected area of your lawn with plants that do well in shade, such as hostas and heucheras.

 

Soil QualitySoil

First, check the soil to determine if it needs improvement. The best soil is well-drained and moist. Test your soil by wetting it thoroughly with your garden hose. Wait for 24 hours and then squeeze a handful in your hand. If the soil forms a ball that maintains its shape, but breaks easily when poked, your soil is ideal as it is and does not need improvement. If the ball of soil collapses rather than maintaining its shape, it likely contains too much sand. If the ball of soil maintains its shape even after poking it, refusing to break up, then the soil likely contains too much clay. Whether your soil has too much sand or too much clay, adding organic matter such as peat moss or compost will improve it.

pH Level

Next, check your soil’s pH level and fertility. pH is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity. A measurement of 7 is neutral. Measurements lower than 7 indicate that your soil is acidic, with zero being the most acidic, while measurements higher than 7 indicate your soil is alkaline, with 14 being the most alkaline.

pH

Each plant species has an ideal pH range for optimal growth. Generally, a neutral pH of 7 is ideal as this is the range at which bacteria are able to decompose organic matter in the soil, releasing nutrients that are then available for your plants, and the ideal range in which microorganisms are able to convert free nitrogen in the atmosphere into a mineral form available to plants. If your soil is acidic, add lime, which is readily available at your local garden store. Bear in mind that hostas like acidic soil. If your soil is alkaline, add compost or manure. You can get a pH testing kit at your local garden store. Make this part of your annual gardening preparations as pH levels can change over time.

Determining the Shape and Size of Your Shade Garden

Use a garden hose as a flexible means of laying out the edges of your shade garden. Once you have determined a satisfying shape, use flour as a non-toxic means of laying out a “chalk” outline of your garden bed. Use a sharp spade to dig along this outline.

If the bed is currently covered in turf, soak the area thoroughly and strip the turf using a straight-edged shovel. Once the soil is exposed, use the shovel or a power tiller to loosen it. If your shade garden bed is large, you can also use a power till to the turf into the soil, using that organic matter to improve the soil. Whichever method you chose, use the opportunity to add amendments to improve the soil. Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches, or up to 12 inches if you are able.

Next, soak the bed thoroughly and wait 7 days to allow weed seeds to germinate and sprout. Remove these seedlings or till them back into the soil.

EdgingEdging

Keep grass and other vegetation from encroaching on your shade garden with edging. There are a variety of options to choose from, including stone, brick, metal and plastic. If your shade garden is bordered by grass, consider including a mowing strip to your edging consisting of 6- 12-inches of brick or stone laid into the ground even with the soil level.

Planting

Working with potted plants enables you to lay them out within your garden bed and experiment with their placement until you find an arrangement that pleases you the most. Read the tags that accompany the plants to ensure correct spacing and placement by height, with the plants that will be tallest when full grown placed at the back of the bed. The bed may appear sparse at first, but will fill in when the plants reach maturity.

When you have settled on an arrangement, start planting with the largest containers and continue by size to the smallest. For hostas and heucheras, set them in your garden bed at the same level they were in the pot. Use your hands to firm the soil around each plant and then soak thoroughly.

Mulch

Mulch conserves moisture, prevents soil erosion during rainfall, and keeps plant roots cool. Organic mulches such as wood chips or shredded bark will decompose over time, adding organic matter to the soil, and thus require occasional replenishment. Gravel or crushed stone are more permanent but do not amend the soil. A thick layer of mulch will prevent weeds from becoming established.

Maintaining Your Shade GardenShade Garden

During the first two weeks, water your shade garden thoroughly every other day, and then twice a week for the rest of the first growing season. Thereafter you may water as needed. Weed regularly during the first growing season. Once the plants mature, there will be less space for weeds to encroach.

Sources:

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plans/shade/shade-garden-plan/

http://www.gardenersnet.com/atoz/ph.htm