Although it is not yet spring, I sometimes believe slugs will not be so present this early in the year. Oregon has had a few spells of cold weather beginning in December. As the temperatures dipped into the teens, I hoped the slugs would not be prepared for the cold. That was certainly not the case.
|Photo: Mike Darcy|
Certainly though, there are plants that seem to be “slug magnets.” In early spring, primroses are a slug delicacy. As the season progresses, petunias, marigolds, many hostas, dahlias, lilies and leafy vegetable plants succumb. In my own garden last summer, I planted basil in a large pot and within hours I saw slugs climbing up the sides of the container.
To digress for a moment, I always find it interesting that a plant may be poisonous to us, but not to slugs. Brugmansia (Angel’s Trumpet) is a good example of this. All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested by humans, yet I have seen slugs crawl up a large plant in my garden to specifically target the flowers.
A key to slug control is using baits early in the season and at the proper time of day. In my garden, I use products with Meta® active ingredient, primarily Corry’s®, in the meal formulation. Sometimes I will use Deadline®, a liquid formulation, to make a protective circle around new transplants. This application forms a barrier between the plant, and hungry slugs. When applying slug bait, I’ve found that I get the best results by applying on damp soil in the early evening. If the soil is dry, I will wet it lightly and then apply the slug bait. It is especially important to bait around new plants in their critical growth stages, so the slugs do not have a chance to start eating and cause damage.
Remember, when using any garden products read the label and follow directions closely.