This has been quite the year for slugs and snails – yes snails. I don’t remember ever seeing a snail any place other than the beach – until this year. I have slugs and snails galore – and of course they love Hosta. You might think that I grow a slug smorgasbord; after all – 300 hostas provide a lot of big luscious leaves to chew on and plenty of dark, damp places to hide under. One slug can lay 50 eggs or more. Multiply that by the number of huge slugs I have seen this season and you will understand why my slug battle won’t end until a hard frost.
I have been very busy with the slug treatments this very rainy year. Beer? Forget it because you can’t catch enough slugs to make a dent in the population. My slug treatment of choice is Ammonia. Ammonia is reasonably priced, easy to apply, safe, and it can zap a large number of slugs in a short period of time. I simply mix a 5 to 1 solution of water and household ammonia in a five gallon pump spray bottle and I’m armed and ready to attack. I walk the gardens in the wee hours of the morning and spray all the hostas. I soak the base of each plant and under all the leaves. Some may ask, “Won’t the ammonia harm the plants?” Not at all - ammonia is nitrogen and the plants love it. When the slug population is high, I treat once every couple of weeks. Tomorrow morning I’m off to spray and hopefully I’ll have hole-free hostas in 2010.