Posted: 17/06/2013 at 10:36
Hi Katy - after battling the slug for ages, I decided to only get hostas which are mollusc resistant (yes, they do exist!) when I buy new hostas. Such as Sum and Substance - any hosta with very thick, corrugated, almost rubbery leaves are usually tougher than fine leaved, tender varieties which moluscs love to munch on.
Agree with the slug pellet debate - I hate the stuff and this year have cut out all pesticides from my garden as I want to help the bees as much as I can.
This means finding organic alternatives - copper tape I've never tried, as my hostas are mainly in the ground. What worked very well was watering the ground with slug nematodes (microscopic worms) which parasitise the slugs and destroy the, I haven't a slug in sight now since beginning of April. The downside is that to be rally effective it has to be done ideally Spring and then again in Autumn, as once the slugs have been killed off, the nematodes run out of food and die off themselves. Best to do a dose before the Winter too so they don't get a foothold then either. Soil has to be a certain night time temperature for nematodes though and be aware that they have a short shelf life of only a fortnight or so in which they have to be used - I but mine (called Nemaslug) online from Amazon as it's the cheapest I've found.
Slugs bury in the ground and come up at night, which is why the nematodes work so well on them.
Snails are another matter! I use the smallest amount of ferrous pellets I can get away with to control them. Any really tender hosta goes in a pot and generally raised off the ground as much as possible.
Hope this helps.
Which types do you have?