Sandy's Garden

Holes in Hosta Leaves

Preventing slug damage on Hostas

By: Sandy Feather ©2008
Penn State Extension

Q. My hosta leaves are always full of holes from slugs. Is there an environmentally friendly way to control them? I prefer not to use slug chemical controls on my hostas.

A. There are some new products on the market that use iron phosphate, rather than the metaldehyde used in Bug-Geta®, that is much less toxic to people and pets. Sluggo and Escar-Go are two examples, and there may be other brand names.

Hosta foliage is far more attractive when it doesn't have "shot hole" damage from slugs!


Diatomaceous Earth as Slug Control

Some gardeners report success with diatomaceous earth, too. Both the iron phosphate-based products and diatomaceous earth must be reapplied after rain. Even heavy dew can make diatomaceous earth much less effective. Make sure to purchase diatomaceous earth intended for pest control rather than what is sold for use in swimming pool filters. Diatomaceous earth for swimming pools is more finely ground and less effective than what is sold for pest control.

Diatomaceous earth is a mined product that contains the fossilized remains of diatoms, and controls pests by damaging the pest’s exoskeleton and causing dehydration.


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