Control. Cleaning up the garden is always a good idea. Spraying or
dusting plants most likely to be eaten with DDT or lead arsenate will
keep them from being chewed up. Ashes or lime around plants deter
slugs for they don't like to crawl through such materials. Most baits for
slugs contain metaldehyde, which attract slugs and then kills them.
It is available under such trade names as Bug-Geta Pellets, Snarol, Meta-
meal, etc., and combined with chlordane, as Snailicide. Put bait out under
boards or jar covers if you would protect your bird friends. Last week I
saw a "garage" for slugs pictured in a garden magazine-a tin can cut
in half lengthwise and fastened to a board in quonset-hut fashion. The
board kept the bait from disintegrating, and the cover enticed the slugs
as well as keeping the poison away from birds and pets.
EUROPEAN BROWN SNAIL
is a special California problem, eating grasses,
vegetables, flowers, shrubs, and trees, especially citrus. Tree trunks
are often covered with the shells, an inch wide, grayish with brown bands.
Eggs are laid in soil nests, the young taking 2 years to reach maturity.
Hand pick the snails where you can and use slug bait. A barrier of lime
on the soil around trees will keep snails away.
Smuts are named for their sooty black spore masses. They are important on grains and grasses, not too common on ornamentals. Corn and
onion smuts appear in backyard gardens.
CORN SMUT (Ustilago zeae).
Very large boils are formed in ears, on
stalks or tassels. They are first covered with a greenish-white membrane, but this soon splits to expose myriads of dark spores. The smut
thrives in warm weather, and the spores survive in animal manures.
Control. In small plantings, watch for and remove the boils before they
break open. Dusting with rotenone, DDT, or Ryania to control corn
borers reduces the amount of smut. Clean up and burn all stalks after
ONION SMUT (Urocystis cepulae).
The disease is important in all onion-
growing sections in the North but not much of a problem where
onions are grown from sets rather than seed. Black, elongated spore
pustules are formed on leaves, black or brown pustules on bulbs. Young
plants are killed, others stunted.
Control. Seed can be treated with Arasan, or the soil with Tersan
mixed with an insecticide for maggots, or thiram can be broadcast with
fertilizer and lightly harrowed in. An older method is to use formaldehyde in the row after the seeds are dropped and before covering: 1 tea-
spoon formalin to 1 quart of water, applying 3 quarts of this dilution per
each 100 feet or row.