Jump to content


slug/cutworm deterrent

  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 carolm


    Well Established

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 80 posts
  • Locationann arbor

Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:18 PM

I've used diatomaceous earth to prevent my seedlings to get chewed down to stubs with mixed results. Wonder if anyone has tried sprinkling coarse sand around new seedlings. Seems like soft bodied critters would find it somewhat uncomfortable. Any thoughts before I raid someone's sand box?

#2 Dsmith74


    Well Established

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 121 posts

Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:01 PM

Haven't tried it, but when crushed, diatom shells are very hard and thin, very much like tiny broken glass in sharpness. Even intact they look like little, cylindrical cheese graters. The sharp edges actually cut open the bugs' exoskeleton (or flesh for soft-bodied creatures) causing them not only discomfort but possibly dehydration and death. If you look at sand under magnification it is often just the opposite - quite smooth and rounded. I wouldn't depend on it as a deterrent. There's already a fair amount of sand in most soils. Or in the case of northwest Michigan, quite a bit of sand. The USDA Soil Survey calls our Montcalm-Greycalm Complex "somewhat excessively drained" due to all that coarse sand, which always amuses me. I can assure you, soft-bodied insects have no problem living in that sand whatsoever. I wish the same were true for many plants. :)

Unfortunately I'm not a veggie grower (no room) so I have no tried-and-true alternative suggestions. Anyone else have good ideas? I assume cutworms are the culprit we're trying to deter?

#3 Janet Macunovich

Janet Macunovich


  • Moderators
  • 480 posts

Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:10 PM

Pauline Banyai, our late great hosta hybridizer friend (produced 'Gold Standard' and 'Key Lime Pie' and ta-da 'Janet' - not named for moi) told me that the problem with diatomaceous earth was moisture. Let it get damp at all and the critters can pass over it on the water surface, like a car hydroplaning on a newly wet pavement. So she said don't put it on the ground. She swore by loading it into a shaker can and shaking it down into the plant's crown, making sure the D.E. got onto the stems the slugs would have to crawl on. (To get up to the hostas; she did have lots of hosta seedlings out in the beds but also a lot of big hostas that were munch-targets).
Also, she used traps. In her case, cardboard sheets in the bed, and 2x4 wood at the edges. Every day (daytime, while the sun shined and the slugs were hiding) she'd flip those over and kill the slugs hiding there. So the overall slug population was reduced through vigilance.
She was a wonder,the things she knew!

#4 62vetteefp


    Breaking Bud

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 20 July 2012 - 12:34 PM

I keep a 5 gallon bucket in the garage that I put egg shells in all year. Crush them up and then put around the skeleton fingers as they rise out of the ground. Works until the deer eat the tops off.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users