Asked on Mar 21, 2015

Garden help: Pill bugs killing my new plants

Hi all,
We moved into an old rental house on a very neglected piece of land. I have started gardening/planting for the first time somewhat unsuccessfully.
I did a little research about the trees we have in the front & read they are very invasive and after a lot of digging, I noticed the roots of the roses are also EVERYwhere. This is probably why my first round of plants were dying. So I dug them out before they were completely gone & put them in planters.
However, I think my biggest problem is those darn rolly pollies/pill bugs & snails! It's mostly the rolly pollies! I have never seen so many in my life! I believe infestation is the proper word.
I dug my plants out & put them in planters (they were store bought perennials, already grown). Only some have survived.
I have now started growing new things from my kitchen (garlic, rosemary, etc). I waited until I felt they were strong enough but then they started dying. So I attempted to put them in the ground again. I prepped the ground with diatomaceous earth but the darn things are still all over the place.
How do i keep these buggers from killing my plants? #pillbugs
Pill bugs hanging out with my garlic & diatomaceous earth.
  12 answers
  • Cindy Delgado Leas Cindy Delgado Leas on Mar 21, 2015
    The blue round things come from the tree mentioned earlier
    comment photo
  • Deezie Deezie on Mar 22, 2015
    I feel to bad you are having this bug problem. I think DE will kill the bugs. Get the kind you can use around animals, I think its called the food grade kind. We use it in our chicken coop and around our house for spiders and other bugs. DE kills all bugs so try it. Good luck
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Mar 22, 2015
    I think you have the wrong culprit. You may have a lot of pill bugs, but I doubt they are causing the problems in your garden. They mostly eat dead and decaying plant material, in turn returning organic matter to the soil.
    • DORLIS DORLIS on Mar 22, 2015
      @Douglas Hunt Why do I find them alll over my marigolds, munching away. they leave bare stems.
  • Irish53 Irish53 on Mar 22, 2015
    I agree with Douglas the soil looks in poor shape. Time to feed and renew soil
  • Suzanne Farmer Suzanne Farmer on Mar 22, 2015
    Douglas and Irish53 are on the right track. Pill Bugs are not usually known to eat vegetation and with good soil amendment, plants will thrive as long as their individual light requirements have been met and they are receiving adequate water and nutrients.
  • Cindy Delgado Leas Cindy Delgado Leas on Mar 22, 2015
    I think you are all correct. I talked to my dad & he said the same thing about the bugs. I'm thinking it may be the tree & roses? When digging, I've discovered the roots are everywhere & no matter how many times i try to contain them they don't back down. In this pic, it had been raining so everything was a mess. I think the soil may not be the culprit because I've used the same soil to grow my plants in containers. Would there be anything i could do if it is the roots of the two mentioned above?
    • Suzanne Farmer Suzanne Farmer on Mar 23, 2015
      @Cindy Delgado Leas The blue round things look to be juniper berries or seeds from a cedar. If you have had trouble getting things to grow under or around that tree, it is a common frustration with trying to get smaller plants to thrive and grow when they have to compete with a much larger and established specimen. Best to plant well outside the drip line of the tree.
  • Kimberly Saxton Scruggs Kimberly Saxton Scruggs on Mar 22, 2015
    Take a soil sample to your local extension office for evaluation. They'll tell you what your planting area is lacking. Don't take the top of soil....dig down 8-10 inches as that is where your roots will be growing. Pill bugs as mentioned by others, eat the dead plant matter: rotting leaves, etc. Slugs, snails will mess with new plants. Sprinkle some slug bait around your plants or set out jar lids of beer. Check with your local nursery....a Real nursery....not the box store ones.
    • Cindy Delgado Leas Cindy Delgado Leas on Mar 22, 2015
      Oh man, we have a lot of snails & slugs too. I had crushed up egg shells sprinkled on the other plants, I should've remembered to do that again. That sounds like a great advice. Thank you very much!
      comment photo
  • Sharonatkins Sharonatkins on Mar 22, 2015
    Cayenne Pepper sprinkled on plants will not hurt plants but sure get rid of slugs and snails.
    • See 1 previous
    • Joan Vargo Joan Vargo on Jun 29, 2016
      Does the pepper blow off
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Mar 22, 2015
    Pillbugs are innocent. Handpick and set out beer in saucers overnight for slugs & snails.
  • Cindy Delgado Leas Cindy Delgado Leas on Mar 23, 2015
    Not sure if I'm correct, but by my research i found this "tree" might be a Chinese Privet http://www.texasinvasives.org/plant_database/detail.php?symbol=LISI
  • Beatrice Tangeman Beatrice Tangeman on May 08, 2015
    You might post a pic of the tree, but in Kyle TX it's more than likely a cedar.
  • Sally Biggs Sally Biggs on Oct 04, 2016
    And they love strawberries! Use egg shells will help.