Autumn Threats

Brrr. Night time in November can get pretty chilly and that frost isn’t making it easy on your flower beds outside. Good thing you planted for the season! Your flowers are hearty enough to make it through. With enough sunlight your asters, chrysanthemums, daylilies, and coneflowers (just to name a few) flower in the autumn and are best for our Indiana climate zone. There are a few autumn threats that will be waiting for those hearty flowers to bloom.

November is normally a wet month, which attracts some unwelcome visitors: slugs and snails. We don’t want them to attack your carefully cultivated fall landscaping.

Both slugs and snails eat flowers. They will leave irregular holes in plant leaves and flower petals as they eat. A good telltale sign of these visitors is the slime trail they leave behind.

There are several ways to deal with these pests. The University of California’s Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program gives you an in-depth description of each way. Here’s a summary of some of the steps that are best to take here in Indiana before the snow falls:

  1. Handpicking. They come out to play at night. So grab a flashlight and head out on a wet night. Pick them up and toss them out in a plastic bag.
  2. Traps. These little bugs are real party animals. If you leave a bowl of beer in a hole just deep enough that the rim is ground level, the irresistible beverage will attract and drown them.
  3. Barriers. Copper is one thing these pests hate! It’s believed that it affects their nervous system like an electric shock. You can apply a Bordeaux mixture with copper sulfate around your flower and plant beds. Copper foil also works.

Bait doesn’t work well in cold temperatures, so you may not get the results you were hoping for when taking that route. If you do try it, use iron phosphate baits (like Sluggo). They’re safe around children and pets.

It isn’t winter yet! Don’t let slugs and snails send your flowers cowering back into the ground before it’s time.


Translate »