En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - February 04, 2013

From: Sedro Woolley, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Pests, Erosion Control, Groundcovers
Title: Controlling slugs in a Pacific Northwest strawberry patch
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Would love to plant various varieties of strawberries on a bank for erosion control and ground cover. How can we keep the slugs at bay? We are in the the Pacific Northwest

ANSWER:

There is an array of methods for controlling slugs and snails beginning with simply picking them off the plants as you find them, trapping them with homemade attractants and killing them, physical barriers, importing natural enemies and the use of commercial chemical repellants and and toxic baits.  The University of California Integrated Pest Management UC IPM Online has a thorough guide to snails and slugs in their "How to Manage Pests" series.

You can read about several methods of organic control from Mother Earth News (which include placement under plants of "crabgrass cookies" made from chopped up crabgrass leaves, corn bran, cornstarch and beer—a substance in crabgrass is toxic to slugs).  You can read How to Kill Snails and Slugs—The Definitive Guide from Weekend Gardener Monthly Web Magazine, January 2013.  It has descriptions of a wealth of organic methods plus several chemical methods. 

In Control of Slugs in Strawberries by Mark Bolda you can read about two of the commercial chemical control methods, one of which has metalaldehyde as the active ingredient and the other which has iron phosphate.  A note of caution:  Metaldehyde is toxic to birds and mammals (including humans, dogs, cats and wildlife) when inhaled or consumed.  The baits containing iron phosphate are advertised as being non-toxic but you might be wise to read this article by Bill Meyer, Iron Phosphate Slug Bait–How Dangerous Is It in the Garden?

You can find more articles on the internet on control of slugs by googling "Control of Slugs".  Whatever method or methods you choose, persistence seems to be the key to control.

 

More Pests Questions

Swarming insects on non-native willow in Washington PA
September 25, 2011 - I have had a very large, beautiful pillow willow bush/tree growing next to our garage for about 8 years. Last year at the end of August, it began to attract white-faced hornets and yellow jackets by t...
view the full question and answer

Japanese beetles in Port Monmouth, NJ
April 08, 2009 - I have searched your web-site in the hopes of not repeating or bothering you with a question not in your field. I am hoping you can help me. I live in Port Monmouth, New Jersey. Last year many of my ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with blueberries from Kernersville NC
April 29, 2012 - My blueberry plants have no leaves or scrawny ones. I have 13 plants, 5 of them are like this.
view the full question and answer

Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
August 08, 2013 - I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
view the full question and answer

Bare spot in Prairie Phlox in Austin
February 25, 2009 - I have Prairie Phlox in my garden that I have had for about 4 to 6 years. I got the original plant from the NPSOT at their booth one year at the Wildflower center. It is really lovely in the spring wh...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center