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Main Index > Markets > Horticultural Applications > Outdoor Gardening & Landscaping > Perlite Used to Deter Garden Slugs

 

STOPPING AND DETERRING GARDEN SLUGS
a report on a study by
Lex Buford
Portland, Oregon

Garden slugs have damaged many gardens for years and years. Lex Buford did some test in Portland, Oregon to see if perlite would work to deter slugs safely and effectively. It did! And so here's his report:

Slug Deterrence Tests
Conducted by Lex Buford
Summer 2001

Mr. Buford owns property that abuts City of Portland’s Forest Park, the largest wilderness park within the city limits of a US city.

Mr. Buford is a former US Forest Service biologist and is knowledgeable about flora and fauna surrounding his property. Due to the amount of forest cover and vegetation, there is a heavy slug presence in and around Mr. Buford’s property. Mr. Buford gardens extensively, growing many of his family’s vegetables and ornamental flowers. He composts, uses organic growing methods and controls all products used on his property. especially commercial fertilizers and pesticides.

Goal: To determine if perlite is a slug deterrent to plant material.

Experiment: Two distinct garden areas were set up to observe slug damage that occurs routinely during the gardening season.

  1. Vegetable Garden: Tilled in composted wood chips and perlite into large planting area so that soil approximated 1/3:1/3:1/3. perlite:woodchips:soil. Area planted with spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, squash and corn.

    Garden was raked and "washed" to insure that perlite particles were present on the soil’s surface.

  2. Flower Garden: Area was top dressed with perlite after planting with hostas, dahlias, spiderwort, cannas. red-hot pokers, tulips and gladiolas.

    Plants emerged through the perlite. which remained on the garden’s surface. during growth.

Observation: With perlite used either as a top dressing or soil amendment, little slug damage occurred to either garden. Under normal circumstances, the plantings suffer seasonal slug damage without some sort of control. The vegetables and ornamental flowers are favorite slug foods. No chemical controls were used to protect plantings.

Slugs were present in areas around the gardens but did little damage to plantings in either garden. The slugs stopped before entering the gardens and did not slime over the perlite to access plants. It appears that slugs were adversely affected by perlite. which proved to be an effective slug deterrent in the garden.

Information given herein is from sources considered reliable, but no guarantee of accuracy can be made or liability assumed.  Your supplier may be able to provide you with more precise data.  Certain compositions or processes involving perlite may be the subject of patents.
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