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Slug and snail on hosta

The bad and the ugly of snails and slugs attacking hosta plants.

   We all know that when we have a garden at some point we will have a visitor, big or small, who will enjoy munching on our plants.  Well, this article will discuss how to identify and treat the snail or slug away from your plants.

   Snails and slugs are not so different except the snail wears a helmet called a shell—other than that they are the same. The snail needs calcium from the soil to create the hard shell, therefore they can be limited on where they reside.  They both can cause a great amount of damage to your plants if not stopped. Although snails and slugs are very useful in breaking down dead material and composting it they can become a nuisance when they move to living matter like your plants.

   They are found in warm moist humid areas but have also been seen in colder climates during the warmer months. The agriculture industry spends millions of dollars annually to keep them from devouring the crops.

   Gardens and even lawns are a perfect place for them to live. This is mainly due to these areas being irrigated and kept wet and moist all summer long. Your garden is composed of many plants and hosta is most likely one of them so they use it to find shelter from the sun during the day. Since they are nocturnal it is sometimes hard to catch them in the act of munching.


 Signs snails or slugs could be eating your hosta

1. Holes or chomp-like marks inside or edges of your plant leaves.

2. New holes or damage is noticed in the morning.

3. Slimy residue seen on plant leaves.

Keeping snails and slugs out

   Snails and slugs are easier to treat than most insects and other pests that attack your plants. They move around from one leaf to the next eating as they go. Treating one hosta at a time could be counterproductive. If you notice any signs of infestation treat an entire area or zone of your garden to make an impact on them. Waiting too long can cause significant damage to your hosta and when that happens that is how they will look the rest of the season. So jump on it early.

1. Remove all dead leaves that are wet from around the hosta that are being eaten or any other plants you have in your garden. This is the perfect environment for snails during the summer.

2. If you are watering your plants overhead, try using drip irrigation instead. Snails and slugs use their little muscular foot to slide along on the wet foliage while they are eating. Keeping the foliage dry but the roots wet could deter them from trying to climb on plant leaves.

3. Growing natural plants such as garlic, onions, mint, and rosemary nearby can also help. The strong natural scent of these plants, especially the mint, causes them to find a way around your plants. I remember seeing mint years ago in my grandfather’s garden. He planted all the above around and some between vegetables.

4. Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled around the bottom of the plants. This a natural product so pets and kids are safe around it.

5. As some times a last resort or maybe for some of you it may be your go-to is a straight slug or snail killer. Bonded makes a great product called Slug Magic. They are granules that are sprinkled around the area that is damaged.


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