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Snails

Symptoms

Irregular holes chewed in leaves, stems eaten away and the plant collapses, flowerbuds and seedlings eaten, seeds fail to grow having been eaten as soon as they germinated.
Find it on: most plants, seedlings, young plants
Time to act: spring, summer, autumn

Overview

Snails, like slugs, cause a great deal of damage to plants. They feed mostly at night, seeking shelter during the day from the drying effects of the sun. However, the snail's shell allows it to move more freely than a slug over dry areas, such as paving. It too, leaves a tell-tale trail of slime at the scene of the crime.
Solution
Irregular holes chewed in leaves, stems eaten away and the plant collapses, flowerbuds and seedlings eaten, seeds fail to grow having been eaten as soon as they germinated.
Organic
Snails mostly feed at night; mild, damp conditions suiting them best. Go out with a torch and collect them by hand. Either re-home them on a patch of waste ground, well away from your garden as they have a homing instinct, or drop them in a bucket of hot, salty water. Encourage natural predators, such as thrushes, toads, hedgehogs and ground beetles. Drown them in saucers of milk or beer - bury the saucer with the rim slightly above soil level to prevent ground beetles falling in, too. Place traps in the border - during the day snails will cluster in upturned pots or grapefruit skins, making collection easy. Surround vulnerable plants with barriers: try copper tape, crushed stone or egg shells. Don't plant out seedlings until they're a good size, then protect them inside cloches made from plastic drinks bottles.
Chemical
Slug pellets also kill snails. There is a wide range, with those containing aluminium sulphate being less toxic to pets and wildlife than those with metaldehyde. In both cases, a light scattering usually does the trick. Bin the bodies in the morning.



Discuss this problem

Talkback: Snails
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roket31 03/05/2012 at 20:34

if i have a organic remedy to keep snails away would i be able to sell it

Greg 2 24/10/2012 at 15:58

I have just had my chimney cleaned and asked if I could keep the soot as my dad used to use it on the garden but my sister tells me he only used it on certain plants. Question is what can I use it on and what not to use it on. I understand it is good to kill off slugs and snails, is it?

gardeninggenes 09/05/2013 at 19:42

Since I moved to the West Country I've noticed that the snails get thenselves up in outfits looking like humbugs or creamy toffees and even a silky version of chocolate. How can we be expected to kill thesee beautiful creatures, I found it hard enough to dispatch the large stately common garden snails!!!!

Lottie4 09/05/2013 at 20:05

I am trying porridge oats this year with a touch of Marrow Rum - anyone know how successful I am likely to be?

Dovefromabove 09/05/2013 at 20:19

gardeninggenes wrote (see)
Since I moved to the West Country I've noticed that the snails get thenselves up in outfits looking like humbugs or creamy toffees and even a silky version of chocolate. How can we be expected to kill thesee beautiful creatures, I found it hard enough to dispatch the large stately common garden snails!!!!

Yes, we have snails masquerading as humbugs here in Norfolk too