Woman with trowel: The thrill of the slug hunt

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The rewards for slug prevention with pots and copper: Hosta ‘Ghostmaster’. Photo credit: Meredith Brehaut

Things are growing now with the warmer temperatures and my garden is being invaded by the season’s first line of predators: slugs.

This year plants are further along than last year when the onslaught began. That means tougher foliage and hopefully less damage. I am out there in the mornings, hunting. Some species seem more vulnerable: brunneras, hostas, polygonatum, ligularia – all of these take a hit. I can easily collect over 100 slugs an hour.

I have tried the beer trap but am not satisfied with the numbers collected. I use slug bait upon occasion – perhaps it works but if I spread too much it attracts rodents. I don’t eat enough eggs to try crushed eggshells. I prefer just picking the slugs up – immediate gratification.

Even with my vigilance, the plants that are in the ground endure some slug damage. I have only ever found one reliable solution for perfect hostas – I put them in pots, on gravel, with copper squares under the pots. I have potted hostas along the side of the house and even though they are 4 ft away from an obvious slug population, they do not get bitten.

Hosta ‘Spilt milk’ Photo credit: Meredith Brehaut

The heartbreak of the nighttime feeding frenzy: Brunnera macrophylla ‘Dawson’s White.’ Photo credit: M. Brehaut

I am never sure what to do with the slugs I collect. I wish I had a trained robin that would come and take my offerings. Currently I have a few hundred herded together in the back. I hope I don’t end up feeding them for the long term. Perhaps tomorrow morning my husband will take them on the morning dog walk and release them in the nearby park…

Their tyranny doesn’t last long – once the heavy rains lighten and it gets warmer still, they ease up – or perhaps the garden just grows more lush and I don’t see the damage as evidently. Either way I’m happy.

If you have any successful slug management techniques, please pass them on…

Last modified: May 11, 2012

One Response to " Woman with trowel: The thrill of the slug hunt "

  1. Gaylin says:

    In the 1960’s, back when I was a kid, my dad used to use the garden trowel to flick the slugs out onto the road and my brother and I used to run over them with our bikes. Not exactly the friendliest approach to slug management . . .