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brian
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Are Snails Beneficial for a Garden? Or Should I Remove them?

I wasrecently digging up the beds at the front of my house and noticed that thee seemed to be an abundance of snails. Are these critters a problem that i should be worried about or can they co- exist with a healthy garden? If they are a destructive influence I would appreciate any advice on ways to get rid of them preferably without using a pesticide. Thanks and God bless, Brian.
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Gardenmom
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Snails are NOT a good thing. My neighbor used to go out and collect them, easily filling up a large coffee can!

I use "That's It." It's granules in a white can with brown lettering. It runs about $8 here, but it's totally worth it. You just sprinkle around the base of the plants that are effected, they come out, eat it and die. Some people may not approve of this route, but it works for me.
God Bless!
Debbie

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brian
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Thanks for the advice, I will check to see if the product you suggested is available in my area. If notthere is probably a similar product. Haave a great day and God Bless, Brian :D

Garden Spider
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Gardenmom wrote:Snails are NOT a good thing. My neighbor used to go out and collect them, easily filling up a large coffee can!

I use "That's It." It's granules in a white can with brown lettering. It runs about $8 here, but it's totally worth it. You just sprinkle around the base of the plants that are effected, they come out, eat it and die. Some people may not approve of this route, but it works for me.
I looked up this product on line, and it has the highest metaldehyde concentration of anything else out there. I would not use it for that reason. Metaldehyde is extremely toxic to wildlife and pets (not to mention humans).

I use diatomaceous earth. Other products with better snail-killing capacity and less toxicity is Sluggo and Escar-Go, which use iron phosphate. It kills slugs and snails, but with no harm to pets or wildlife.

Coffee grounds are also a safe way to kill the little beasties without danger to pets or wildlife.
Barb and the Two Furry Speedbumps

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brian
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Thanks for the advice, are coffe grounds effective because that would obviously be the more environmental choice and if so how do you recommend using them. ie: do you spread them throughout the garden or just around the plants? Have a great day and God Bless, Brian. :D
Today is a great day so make the most of it!

TheLorax
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Coffee grounds can be a help. I would consider putting out some lettuce on plates at night. Cabbage and spinach scraps can work too and so will over ripened fruit like strawberries. Just keep pitching the snail bait and snails every morning until you don't attract any more. If that doesn't cut down your problem considerably, the Sluggo or the Escar-Go products would work. Diatomaceous earth isn't exactly non-discriminatory and the 'That's It' product raises my eyebrow.

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brian
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thanks i will give that a try and let you know how i make out. Have a great day and God Bless, Brian. 8)
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TheLorax
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That method can be a two-for solution!

I sometimes get two-for my efforts when I place offering trays around my hostas because slugs love lettuce too!

Garden Spider
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TheLorax wrote:Coffee grounds can be a help. I would consider putting out some lettuce on plates at night. Cabbage and spinach scraps can work too and so will over ripened fruit like strawberries. Just keep pitching the snail bait and snails every morning until you don't attract any more. If that doesn't cut down your problem considerably, the Sluggo or the Escar-Go products would work. Diatomaceous earth isn't exactly non-discriminatory and the 'That's It' product raises my eyebrow.
Curious about the lettuce, cabbage, etc set out on plates--is this a bait station? Attract them to food on plates, and then pitch plate, sluggly critters, and all? Or add bait to plate, along with food?

I agree diatomaceous earth is non-discriminatory. But with 2 dogs, I don't want to use anything that remotely looks or smells like food--dogs are opportunistic scavengers, and they will eat things that just make me shake my head in wonder. All our dogs, past and present have left the DE strictly alone. They don't even notice it. It may harm a few beneficial insects but I've decided to live with that.

The past few years, I haven't had a problem with slugs or snails, and haven't needed bait at all. I know I have some slimey critters--things get eaten a bit, holes in leaves here and there. But for some reason, I'm not getting the out-and-out destruction that I used to have, and that other people complain about. Maybe I have fewer slug/snail attractive plants, maybe the local opossums or raccoons are eating them, maybe it's the bark mulch I put down. But I haven't had to use DE in years.
Barb and the Two Furry Speedbumps

Garden Spider
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[url]https://www.eartheasy.com/grow_nat_slug_cntrl.htm[/url]

url]https://www.pioneerthinking.com/tv-slugs.html[/url]

Found these websites on slug/snail control while looking up info. Hope they help!
Barb and the Two Furry Speedbumps

TheLorax
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Beer works very well for slugs. I've used old pie tins and recessed them into the ground then filled them partially with beer. Haven't attracted any snails with the beer but friends have. Perhaps my snails don't appreciate beer as being one of the finer things in life (burp).

The lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and overripe fruits are the bait for the snails. No Sluggo added and no EscarGo added. Place yummie offerings on overturned dinner plates at night and gather up and pitch the bait and what ever it attracted overnight bright and early the next morning before they go slithering off to avoid the heat of the day after gorging.

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imagardener2
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TheLorax wrote:Perhaps my snails don't appreciate beer as being one of the finer things in life (burp).
_____________________[img]https://geocities.com/d_m_g_s/emoticons/laugh4.gif[/img]

NewjerseyTea
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I can't believe I'm actually going to recommend leaving some slugs. Before I start hearing the boos let me explain. I do sympathize with everyone who is losing plants to slugs. It took me years to be able to grow wood phlox because they were instantly eaten by slugs and I did use Sluggo 2 years in a row to reduce the problem. But it seems that fireflys in the larvae stage feed on the larvae of slugs and snails and the little brown garden snakes do also. I am happy with the return of both to my garden. I do have to confess for the last few years the slugs have been "in balance" in my garden and I'm not losing a lot of plants. I still pitch the larger slugs into the driveway to be eaten by the birds.
As for snails I seem to have introduced them to my garden from plants in a small water feature. They seem to like to crawl up the side of the house and can be hand picked.

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brian
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Perhaps my snails don't appreciate beer as being one of the finer things in life (burp)
don't know whether i will try this one because of the fact that i am a recovering alchoholic and i might end up living in the garden with the snails. :lol: But all of the otheradvice is much appreciated, thanks everyone, God Bless and have a great day, Brian. :D
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TheLorax
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NJT- Excellent comments! Firefly larvae and snakes aren't the only critters that dine on slugs or snails. Salamanders, frogs, shrews, moles, ducks, some songbirds, skunks, opossums, and badgers do too and I'm sure there are many others. Skunks and ducks are constantly visiting my hostas and I know I've got a snake that has taken up residency by one of the window wells over there too.

You are too cool! You hit on why I really don't feel comfortable using anything other than what I am currently using as bait. Some of the ducks eat the lettuce but they normally leave enough uneaten that it hasn't become a problem. I'm very concerned about what may happen when a little salamander or a little bird eats a slug that consumed a pellet. My guess is people using these products never considered getting a two-for... they're probably killing or making some higher level consumers very ill.

The slugs and snails can gorge to their slimy content on everything I've got growing here other than plants I've just stuck in the ground that need to develop root systems and gift plants which include my ho-hum hostas. My Mother In Law bought the vast majority of mine several years ago. I told her how beautiful they were and how thankful I was and how I had the perfect place to plant them. She promptly went out and bought more for me so I could expand my new hosta garden. Then my Dad bought a bunch to fill in... end of season sale somewhere and he knew how beautiful I thought they were. I then had friends bringing me divisions. This hosta deal has gone on for a while because I didn't have enough spine to tell anyone I really don't want hostas. I keep the slugs at bay here at Hosta Haven because the hostas are gifts. Personally, I'd prefer the slugs and snails skeletonize them all because then I could establish more of what I do want over there which would be native ferns.

Brian- There's this visual in my head of a person with a straw in their mouth laying on their belly sucking out of a beer bait that I now can't get out of my head and its all your fault!

Keep up the good work identifying your limitations!

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brian
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It is that very visual that reminds me of my limitations :lol:
Have a great day and God Bless, Brian. :D
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cynthia_h
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Dear Brian,

Here in northern California, snails have been a plague since about 1865, when a Frenchman imported them for eating and they escaped in San Jose. They have multiplied exponentially for over 140 years...

So I have no compunction whatsoever about smashing their little/large selves back into MY soil, from which they have drawn their sustenance.

Method: When I'm going "snail hunting" (which is about once a week now that the rainy season is over), I water late in the afternoon. About 2 to 2-1/2 hours after dark, I go back outside with a flashlight and trowel or long stick. I smash the snails in place--either with my hiking-boot-shod foot or the trowel--when they're on the ground, I knock them onto the ground from branches and then smash them, I lift them up from plants and put them onto the ground and then smash them...repeat as needed.

We had a late-season rain the 29th of April and I killed a record 124 snails. :shock: I've recorded "kills" of 23 and 14 snails the two times I've gone snail hunting since then.

I lost too many veggie plants to these critters in the '80s (when I was previously able to garden) to have any sympathy/mercy. Their quick, as opposed to prolonged, demise is the only mercy I show them.

That's MY veggie patch, made with MY compost and MY work and MY water, that they're trying to eat down to nibs. :evil:

Completely non-toxic method, re-fertilizes the soil, gives the (surviving) ants something to do other than invade my house. They can be legitimate undertakers, for once.

Cynthia H.
El Cerrito, CA

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brian
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Thank you for the advice Cynthia. It sounds like you have found a great outlet for the stresses of everyday life, smashing snails. I cant believe I am going to say this but I actually felt sorry for the snails when I read your post. I am sure I will get over that when I start to see my plants full of holes and I will be forced to do some smashing of my own because although I have never tried eating them the thought of it almost made me puke. Too bad more people don't have the same tastes as the Frenchman who imported them or we might not have as much of a problem with snails, but given the choices of losing my plants, eating the disgusting little critters or smashing, I will have to choose the later. Happy smashing to you, and God Bless, Brian.
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TheLorax
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So I have no compunction whatsoever about smashing their little/large selves back into MY soil, from which they have drawn their sustenance.
I log on bright and early and read this??? OMG! Thanks for starting my day with a bang.... er uh a squish!

cynthia_h
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Sorry for being so graphic, Brian... :oops: Lorax :oops:

It took me a couple of years of losing lettuce and even young tomato plants before I got it together and engaged in battle with the snails, too, so I really understand the yuck factor.

It was the predator/prey idea, combined with things like mineral extraction/removal and basic justice (in my human viewpoint, of course) that finally brought me to this point.

Which is why I dispatch the snails very quickly. I don't want them to suffer; I just want them to be GONE. Along with, yes, some stress!

Cynthia H.
El Cerrito, CA

TheLorax
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I enjoyed your comments. Made me laugh.

wurzelgummidge
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controlling slugs and snails

for those of you that use slug pellets put them into small containers slugs and co crawl in and bingo. then just dispose of mess safely so other creatures arent poisoned.
other methods that are safe are gravel,crushed oyster shells,sticky slug traps, water with yeast in it slugs love it.
garlic wash, recipe is two bulbs of garlic crushed and boiled in two pints of water (uk pints) for three mins strain and cool top up to two pint level ,then one tablespoon to two gallons(uk) and spray onto plant leaves.
courtesy of gardeners world bbc 2 :lol:
he who knows all does not exist

wurzelgummidge
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Re: controlling slugs and snails

wurzelgummidge wrote:for those of you that use slug pellets put them into small containers slugs and co crawl in and bingo. then just dispose of mess safely so other creatures arent poisoned.
other methods that are safe are gravel,crushed oyster shells,sticky slug traps, water with yeast in it slugs love it.
garlic wash, recipe is two bulbs of garlic crushed and boiled in two pints of water (uk pints) for three mins strain and cool top up to two pint level ,then one tablespoon to two gallons(uk) and spray onto plant leaves.
courtesy of gardeners world bbc 2 :lol:
the recipe for garlic wash works with aphids as well my elderberry was infested with them so gave it a good spraying it killed the lot in one go :lol:
he who knows all does not exist

bcomplx
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Don't have but a few snails, but slugs are here in all different colors. I think trapping and strategic non-mulching work well enough, but it is so disgusting to go out at night as see them all over everything!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onctrmf_2Y4

My vid on slug control...

TheLorax
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I like the idea of the board with an underlayment of sugar soaked newspaper.

cynthia_h
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An update on Snail Hunting:

After the freak rainfall in late April, when I dispatched over 125 snails, my number of snails "bagged" has dropped and remained low.

Mid-May: 23 snails.

Late May: 15 or so.

June 10 (when I cut back some valerian, which the snails love for its hiding places): 24 or 25.

June 17: 8.

June 29 (tonight): 10.

Again this evening, I watered the veggies/food plants just before dark and waited until 10:00 to go out with flashlight and "killing stick." The "stick" (my cane this evening) helps get the ones that are too far into the bushes/jade plant for me to reach with my hands.

These low numbers make me happy. :) I'm considering reducing the frequency of Snail Hunts from weekly to biweekly, now that we're well into the dry season.

Cynthia H.
USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 17

cynthia_h
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I think I had a long-term effect on the population of snails in my (very small) piece of Earth last April. :)

I've been out snail hunting a couple of times since Thanksgiving. Fairly low numbers of "prey." (Well, they're predators on my veggies, so it all works out.)

It's been in the 30s here this week, and it rained last night, so I went out tonight.

I found a grand total of 8 snails.

One of the staff at my local garden-supply told me the other day, in response to my hopeful question about whether the anticipated freeze would kill snails, that "They don't freeze." Rats.

So I'll keep going out the evening after a rain for the next while, regardless of the temperature.

Cynthia

Janice Pownall
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I lose so many plants to slugs that I have no problem with dispatching them whenever I can. I used to throw them over the garden wall but they just came back, and brought their mates with them. Last year a Hosta grower (hostas are very susceptible to slugs and snails here) told me he starts his campaign of slaughter on February 14th each year; he spreads slug pellets thickly over the hosta beds (or anywhere that you have problems) and waits for the slugs to smell the food. Aparently they appear in force, wolf down the pellets and die. He then collects them, adds more pellets if needed and keeps collecting until the onslought ends. The hostas are then safe for the whole year.
As I said, I was told this last summer so I haven't tried it yet. I will let you know.
Has anyone else heard of this plan? :twisted:

cynthia_h
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Sorry for the slow response.

I don't use toxins in my gardening (at least, not that I know of), so I can't comment on the slug "pellets" in hostas.

I went out again tonight--it rained Wednesday (a little) and yesterday (a decent amount). It did NOT rain today, but I thought snails & slugs might be out and about, so I went hunting.

15 snails and 3 slugs. Very low numbers for this time of year! :D

It's forecast to rain on and off until Tuesday, so I'll be going out again soon. :twisted:

Cynthia

David Taylor
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I hope I haven't posted this here before, but this is my experience with the Garden Variety Snail:
[url]https://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewarticle.asp?AuthorID=3199&id=10909[/url]

There's also a predator snail you can buy that eats the Saxon Import. I can't think of the name right now, but I ordered them years ago. They're practically invisible, and there's a whole lot less feral Napolianic snails present.

cynthia_h
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David, I've read your saga before. I just read it again and loved it the second time around as well.

Would that I had chickens...or a pet duck...

Cynthia

Rob_NZ
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I have to agree with the pro-active hunting method, it's by far the most effective and the easiest on other garden creatures, some of which are beneficial. I've read numerous declarations on different pellet brand boxes claiming that they are not harmful to other wildlife but in my experience this is complete rubbish. I've seen ear-wigs get the good news from pellets too [not a bad thing!] but also woodlice [slaters in some parts] so it stands to reason that pretty much anything that happens upon a pellet will have a munch, therefore garden "buddies" may be getting killed in numbers also.

I had a problem on a previous property here in New Zealand with snails on a scale which took me by surprise after I moved in. I spent five nights at two hours each picking them off all surfaces of the house and gardens but I also made sure I got right into the plants, grasses, shrubs, etc and under loose rocks and basically every nook and cranny which a snail could lie-up in. For efficiency I had to make piles at five foot intervals before stamping on them. The garden stank with the smell of so many snails going off. I'm only describing it truthfully to back up the following point - If you actively look for them at night, and in the places where they rest during the day [even at night, they have slow starters too!] and kill them as you find them you'll not only knock their population to near zero but you'll do it in a manner which leaves the rest of the crawlies alone and no matter how big your problem is...it works. Same for slugs.

Pellets are hit and miss things for me and they degrade after a short while anyway.

Rikesh
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I'm using metaldehyde poison against snails. There's really too much in my garden. Its the first time I'm using it though. I prefer killing them manually.

mfedukovich
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I don't know if this has already been said, I looked through most but not all the replies, but I've heard that putting sand around the plant helps and it worked for me. I was told by an older generation gardener (Im 27) that when the snails/slugs crawl over the sand it cuts them like glass. I've done it around my hostas and it seemed to keep the damage down. And also try watering earlier in the day so the ground is dry around your plants at night (unless it rains!)
This reply is a bit late by when the question was asked, but I hope you got your problem taken care of. :D

Rikesh
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yeah, you can use sand or ash to do this job.
Crushed eggshells work too.

cynthia_h
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Another late-season rain. :D We *really do need* all the rainfall from heaven we can get...

So, of course, this presented me with a Snail Hunting opportunity!

Last year's late-season Snail Hunt has definitely had a long-term effect on the snail population in my (very) little patch of ground.

I think it's probably been six weeks :shock: since the last Snail Hunt, but tonight I only bagged...

23 snails + 1 slug

When I think back to the first couple of seasons when I started gardening in Berkeley, and then to the first year when I gardened here (1997/1998), I would never have believed I could achieve such relatively low numbers of gastropods. :twisted:

So, think of this as a long-term campaign. I've experienced this small success after only one and a half full seasons of Snail Hunts. I'd say I started the current campaign approx. March 2008, with random forays before that every couple of months, just for stress relief.

Cynthia

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Kisal
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I've been going out every night, sometimes a couple times a night, to pick snails. I haven't been finding nearly as many as usual. Probably only 4 or 6 dozen over the entire 2 week period, and that's in my patio planters and my little veggie garden on the south side of the house.

I've been doing this for the past 3 or 4 years, and it definitely is making a difference.

sweet thunder
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Yes, this recent rain has brought them out of hiding even during the day, so I've been able to handpick many of them.
Even so, it seems like every time I go outside there's another one trying to munch on my newly sprouted sunflowers!

By the way, I've caught many of them crawling out of the beer traps after drinking their fill, and sliding right over the eggshell barrier.

One thing that has really helped my basil seedlings is to cover them with hot caps made from two-liter bottles with the bottoms cut off and the caps removed. It protects them from the slugs and gives the basil a nice warm environment that they love. The plants are almost too big now, though, so soon they'll be on their own!

Capheind
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As an eater of Escargot myself the only agony I feel at crushing snails is the loss of so much otherwise edible Petit-gris to the landlords pesticides. Were it not for the monthly visit of the exterminator to the property I'd prepare the monsters for the plate.
In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is strength, in water there is bacteria.
~David Auerbach.

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gixxerific
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I'm with Cynthia squash and forget. There will be more.

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