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Publication: Garden Guides
Slug Control

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                   GardenGuides Newsletter 
                  Tuesday, March 20, 2007 
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Tomato Hornworms 

These distinctive creatures are masters of camouflage. The 
four-inch larvae are stem green with seven or eight diagonal 
white stripes down their sides. Each stripe is shadowed by a 
row of black dots, and punctuated with a huge false eyespot 
and black tail. They feed in the daytime, nibbling at fruit 
and consuming tremendous quantities of leaves. Little 
souvenirs similar in appearance to rabbit pellets are 
sometimes left behind. Target plants include tomatoes, 
peppers, potatoes, eggplant and dill. 

Adult hornworms are huge grayish brown moths with wingspans 
of up to five inches. They are also known as hawk or 
hummingbird moths, and they are sometimes mistaken for 
hummingbirds as they hover in front of flowers feeding on the 
nectar at dusk. Wings are ornamented with a wavy line pattern 
and the body is marked with orange spots. Pupae hibernate 
underground in hard, two-inch cases shaped like spindles. Fall 
tilling helps to destroy the pupae. 

CONTROLS 
Deterrent plants include borage, opal basil and marigolds. 
Dill makes an excellent trap crop. The huge worms are easy to 
spot on dill plants, and can then be handpicked. Handpicking 
is the preferred method of control. Although they are huge, 
they usually aren't numerous. A blast of cold water from the 
hose will cause them to thrash about and make handpicking 
easier. If you can't bear to handpick the worms (even with 
gloves on) spray susceptible plants with Bt. 

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Nontoxic Slug Control

The best way to combat slugs is to understand their 
lifecycle. Know thy enemy! Slugs themselves contain a high 
percentage of water and will begin feeding as soon as soil 
temperatures rise above 40 F (5 C), emerging from the soil 
or from protected areas. Slugs prefer to forage at night or 
on dull days when temperatures drop and the garden is damp. 
Their gelatinous eggs, laid in clusters of 40-100, can be 
found in the soil, under rocks and even in outdoor pots. 
Learn to recognize them! 

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SWIVEL HEAD FLASHLIGHT

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Here's a flashlight you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. 
It can swivel up and down, or all around. You can even clip it 
on your belt, shirt pocket, on a cap, just about anywhere.

Swivel Head Flashlight

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Bud Blast

Gardeners in warm, humid climates will soon be fighting bud 
blast.  If the buds on your flowers and fruits dry up and 
fall off before they bloom, the fungus Botrytis is probably 
the cause.  The disease thrives in warm humid areas where air 
circulation is poor.  Here are some suggestions to help 
combat bud blast:

- Remove all affected parts of the plant and destroy them.
  
- Clean up any debris that may have fallen around the plant.

- Remove old mulch.

- Space and prune plants so that there is plenty of room for 
  air to circulate.

- Spray with a fungicide.

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END OF GARDENGUIDES   
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