Slugs

Mole Gopher Slug Soft Rot Leaf Spot Borer Other

Irises suffer less from diseases and pests than most other garden plants under normal conditions. However, some diseases and pests do attack iris and they must either be prevented or destroyed to have a healthy garden. It is much easier to maintain a clean garden than a messy one since many pests and diseases hide in garden debris.

An iris garden should not be overwatered, overcrowded, or overfed if it to be healthy. In warmer climates overhead watering speads diseases (see Leaf Spot also). Overcrowding keeps the air from circulating and overfeeding makes large, but, soft rhizomes (see Soft Rot also).

Slugs love the Oregon climate - warm and moist. It is difficult to be free of slugs in Oregon. By keeping the garden as clean as possible is helpful. According to one web site, there are 5 ways to get rid of garden slugs.

Those ways include:

Cornmeal
Beer
Ammonia
Organic Deterrents
-- Caffeine Based Spray
-- Salt
-- Coffee Grounds and Egg Shells
-- Copper Strips
-- Sharp Stones
-- Sand
-- Red Leaves
-- Pine Needles
Chemical Methods

Dave uses only three methods: Chemical Method, Ammonia, and his pocket knife.

Dave uses a "Slug Bait" chemical that comes in a box labeled Slug Bait. The name of the product is Blue Bombshell which contains 4% metaldehyde. He applies this at least once each year, in the Spring. It is pellet that he sprinkles around each plant. The slugs are attracted, eat their fill, and die.

While Dave is cleaning in the garden, he often has a bottle of ammonia handy. He uses regular household ammonia. This does not seem to burn the iris foliage. He sprays some ammonia onto the slug, not the plant. In a few minutes the slug will be dead. It must be a painful way to go. I've watched the process and it does not look pleasant. But now I do not have pity upon the slug.

Another method Dave uses to destroy the slug is to simply isolate it on the ground and cut it in half with his knife.

I have few hyperlinks on this page so you can read more about slugs. I do want to show you a couple photos of slug damage. People have asked me what is wrong with their iris when the leaves get holes in them. They never noticed slugs and did not know what slug damage looked like on the iris foliage.

slug damage 01 slug damage
Notice the cuts and open places on the iris fan. This is all from slugs damage. If you notice this extensively on your plants, it is past time to get serious about slug control.