How to control snails in your garden

While most of us understand that snails are part of the natural world, that doesn’t mean we want to share space with them. After all, snails are slimy, ugly, and destructive enough to harm your lawn and garden. And since we’ve been having a lot of rain so far this year, you can expect them to come marching!

If these little buggers have had you asking yourself, “How to control garden snails?” then you are at the right place! In this post, we’ll share our top tips to get rid of snails around your property and reclaim your outdoor space.

Signs of invasion

Before using pest control in the garden it’s essential to correctly identify the problem and use the appropriate technique or product. If you know what to look for it’s easy to spot when these nasty pests are helping themselves to your plants.

Healthy seedlings can disappear overnight, plus foliage and flowers show ragged or chewed-looking holes with the lower leaves of plants usually consumed first. Snails and slugs also leave a trail, so look for shiny streaks on foliage and silver-grey slime trails appearing on the plant, soil or pots.

Because of their slimy, moist bodies, snails thrive in environments that shelter them from the heat of the sun. They’re active on foggy, overcast, or rainy days,  and will feed on a variety of plants in the yard or garden. The best way to catch them in the act is to search for them by torchlight, before sunrise or after dark.

Reasons to get rid of snails

For a small creature, snails can pack a big punch. Snails have a rough, rasp-like tongue, which they scrape across the edges of plant leaves. The result is large holes and chips across the surface area of the plant, which can damage or even kill your greenery. But that’s not all they do…

Here are a few other reasons to get rid of snails as soon as you see them:

  • They are unsightly. Nobody wants to pick a fresh leaf of lettuce from the garden only to find a snail. Snails are unsightly and disgusting and will make your yard or garden a less enjoyable place to be.
  • They spread disease. Snails carry diseases and parasitic worms that can be dangerous for domestic pets and people. Having them on your property may be putting your health at risk.

Methods of control

The only sure-fire way to keep your garden free of snails and slugs is to destroy them. There are several ways to do this, or you can use natural deterrents to keep them away from your plants by making the garden less hospitable.

Poison – Scatter pellets around plants by hand, choosing an animal-friendly product to protect pets, native birds and lizards. Protek’s Scatterkill for Snails is an excellent example as it contains a pet repellent.

Bait – A common snail trap is the beer pan, such as Efekto’s Eco Snail & Slug trap (available for purchase at your nearest Plantland branch). Simply fill a shallow pan with beer and leave it out overnight. The snails will be attracted to the beer and will drown in it. The beer will need to be replaced every few days to remain effective.

Shock – Use copper tape as a collar for young plants and pots, or as bed edging. Copper makes an effective barrier, as it gives snails and slugs a slight electric shock. This tape is about 30mm wide.

Catch – If you have a strong stomach for this sort of thing, you can control slugs and snails by just handpicking, killing, and disposing of them. Wear gloves or use tweezers or chopsticks to make the work simpler and easier. We recommend doing this early morning or late evening when the pests are out.

Plant snail-resistant plants – Some plants are less attractive to snails than others. The following varieties resist snails: HostasLavenderRosemarySage, Geranium, Fuchsia, etc.

Now that you know more about how to control garden snails in your garden with these effective snail repellents and organic snail control, you can make sure that those slimy little buggers never bother your plants again. For more information on snails and slugs, visit your nearest branch.