Slugs

Deer

Rabbits, Voles, and Other Rodents

Slugs

Slugs look like snails without shells – they vary in size and are often a brown-gray color. Slugs reproduce by laying up to 50 eggs at a time in a clutch, often laying their last batch of eggs in the late fall.

Slugs eat holes in hosta foliage, leaving leaf tissue missing and little or no discoloration around the hole.
They prefer cool, dark, moist areas – often beneath leaf litter, mulch, and dense ground cover. They are most active at night and on cloudy days, preferring ample moisture and temperatures above 50 degrees. You may not see slugs much during the day, but you will know slug damage when you see it. A sure sign of slugs are slime trails – they leave a trail of slime that dries to a shiny film.

Removing dead plant debris and decomposing material from the garden makes it a less ideal habitat for slugs. There are also a number of home remedies available including; beer traps, Epsom salt, crushed egg shells, or coffee grounds. Toads, ground beetles, garter snakes, moles, shrews and wrens all prey on slugs – if you have any of these critters around they may help with a slug problem as well.

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Deer

Deer are a common problem for hosta lovers. Deer seem to like hostas with fragrant blooms (plantaginea family) the most. Use the HostaSearch™ Database and Search Engine to determine the fragrant hostas.

Possible preventative solutions: (HostasDirect, Inc.’s policy is to not endorse products. We only provide information.)

Rabbits, Voles, and Other Rodents

In the spring, rabbits often eat hosta leaves just as the plants are coming up. They also sometimes bite off flower scapes, but seem to prefer tender shoots. Rabbit damage seems to occur more often earlier in the spring, and less as the season progresses and plants grow larger. Sprinkling Cayenne pepper on foliage may help to deter rabbits from eating hostas.

Voles and field mice can be a problem for hostas and other plants. Voles burrow under the soil and eat the fibrous roots as well as the basal plate, causing most of their damage during the dormant winter months. If you suspect vole damage, you can dig the plant and examine the roots. The lack of roots will be obvious and there may even be small teeth marks on the basal plate. Most of the plants damaged in this way will live but will be reduced in size, although a heavy infestation of voles may kill plants.

Squirrels frequently aren’t classified as hosta pests but don’t mind eating hosta leaves during a drought and sometimes dig up plants. Sprinkling Cayenne pepper on foliage may help deter squirrels as well.

Possible Solutions: (HostasDirect, Inc.’s policy is to not endorse products. We only provide information.)

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