Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waging War Against Slugs

One thing about being home during the week is getting to see a variety of things on TV that I normally don’t. This week, that included P. Allen Smith’s “In the Garden” segment on our NBC affiliate’s noon news.

His topic: slugs. We’ve been fighting them for years. We’ve tried beer. That works, but it’s a pain in the butt, as Is going out at night with a flashlight and smashing them. (The mother does this; I refuse.) We opted against using the chemical treatment we bought last year –after a more careful read of the label –for fear of harming other creatures.

So, when I heard that Smith was going to offer remedies for dealing with this benign-looking but evil creatures, he had my full attention. In fact, he offered up three remedies that I’d never before heard. There are just some barriers that slugs won’t cross, Smith said. OK. And they are?
1. Wood ash. Spread these ashes around the bases of shrubs or trees where slugs like to attack. Supposedly, they won’t go near it. Something that should be in easy supply … and free! There’s a caveat though: You have to replace the ashes every times it rains!
2. Copper sheeting. If you wrap a copper barrier around the bases, it’s supposed to have the same effect. He didn’t specify how thick, but what was shown didn’t appear to be either very thick or high. Doesn’t sound then like this would be an expensive option.
3. Sweet gum balls. Again, collect and spread these at the tree and shrub bases. For smaller plants, you can even smash them up with a hammer. These are plentiful in my neighborhood and I curse them regularly. And I thought their only function was to be arch-nemesis to my lawnmower!

I don’t know if any of these actually work, but at this point, I’m willing to give them a try! I’m even willing to try putting stuff around the base of the deck to keep their slimy little selves off there.


themadengineer said...

I hear a lot of good things about leaving out plates full of beer. Snails and slugs are attracted to the grainy smell, fall in, and drown.

kaypasa2001 said...

Finally something we agree on!

I highly recommend Mig's experiments with slugs and beer:

Jayne said...

I've heard the sweet gum balls really do work, but I haven't tried them yet. I use slug bait in my containers but I won't put it in my gardens. The slugs must know this, because my container plants look pretty good and the hostas in the yard look like Swiss cheese.

NV said...

madengineer -- We've done that for a few summers but these creatures must be smarter than they look. It works great the first time or two. After that, nothing.

KayO -- Cool! Another option to check out.

Jayne -- Yeah, they're evil little things, arent' they?!