PREVENTING, COUNTERING AND FIGHTING SNAILS

3 min read

Beforehand you have to ask yourself whether you really want to fight the snails. Snails play a role in the ecosystem. They are the great scavengers in nature. They convert everything they eat into food that can be absorbed by plants and animals. And then are themselves the food for hedgehogs and birds.

This does not alter the fact that slugs, but also snails can damage your plants considerably. There are no means to fight snails with 100% certainty, but you can reduce the burden they cause you quite a bit.

CHOOSE PLANTS THAT KEEP SLUGS AWAY

Then at least they stay away from there and you also protect other plants that are close to those anti-snail plants, especially if they are strongly fragrant, poisonous or bitter-tasting plants. Snails also dislike plants with thick, firm, leathery leaves. Also take a look at the garden advice article ” Plants that can withstand snails because they don’t eat them ”

IN A NEAT GARDEN YOU GET FEWER SNAILS

Snails simply like to hide under partly digesting plant material and rubbish that remains for a long time. They lay their eggs in groups in shallow holes in the ground or on stems and leaves (especially look at the leaf undersides). If you clean your garden well in the spring, you run the risk of losing a lot of snails and their eggs by tilling the soil and cleaning up plant debris.

MAKE SURE THAT NATURAL NATURAL ENEMIES OF THE SNAILS LIKE TO COME INTO YOUR GARDEN

There are all kinds of animals that like to eat snails: various kinds of birds (blackbirds, thrushes, crows), but also toads, hedgehogs and, for example, the carnivorous shrews like snails. All kinds of beetles like to eat snail eggs. All these animals help you continuously with snail control if there are enough green hiding and nesting places for them in your garden (shrubs, a hedge, densely growing climbing plants). Make sure there is water for the birds to drink and bathe in. Hang birdhouses. If bantam chickens are allowed to forage in your garden, they will help you with snail control without harming your plants (larger chickens can cause damage). Various types of runner ducks also eat snails.

CHECK REGULARLY FOR SNAILS

If you see them, remove them immediately. They appear especially during hot, humid weather. After a rain shower, you can check your plants for snails with the best chance of success. Pick up the snails, collect them and release them somewhere in nature at a good distance from your garden. If you find it scary to pick up a (naked) snail with bare hands, use snail tongs.

THIS IS HOW SNAILS MOVE

Snails can travel great distances surprisingly quickly. They move with their moving crawl sole (or crawl foot). That is a week and sensitive organ (actually a strong muscle) with which they slide forward over a self-made layer of mucus. They do that by extending that sole of the foot and contracting it forward again. A wavy movement is then created. Snails are also known as “gastropod” animals.

MEANS TO SCARE SNAILS

Apply plant materials that are sensitive to snail infestation on all sides that snails do not like to crawl over. Everything is recommended for this: from ground eggshells to cocoa shells, broken shells, gravel, grit, rough gravel, lava grit, coffee grounds, etc. As long as it is rough and preferably also dries quickly and can therefore be harmful or difficult for that sensitive crawler sole.
But there are more options: you can put copper rings or a copper tube on the ground around your plants. Copper is an energetic material. When a snail comes into contact with it, it feels a shock. It works the same as electric fence. You can apply special copper bands around pots that deter slugs in the same way.

What also works is spraying with garlic water and planting strong scented plants.

NEVER SPRINKLE SALT ON SNAILS!

That’s a form of torturing snails. Salt bites into the garden snail’s body, which is eaten away as it were. Sprinkle salt on the ground or on your plants is also very bad for your plants.

SNAILS IN THE POND

There are several types of snails that live in water. Although they are very useful scavengers, they can sometimes cause damage to plants in garden ponds and swamps if there are too many. In ponds, the most common types are:

  • Posthorn snail (Planorbis corneus)
    A snail in which the ‘house’ is vertical on the back in a flat plane. They are up to 3.5 cm in size and dark brown. This species has lungs, there are also water snails with gills, therefore they must regularly go to the surface of the water to breathe. They eat algae, algae, rotting bottom material and sometimes they eat the pond plants something. They don’t do much damage. But if they get too many, you can catch them by crushing some lettuce leaves and placing them on the surface of the water. This will attract the snails after a while, after which you can remove them.
  • Pool snail (Lymnaea stagnalis)
    This snail can absorb oxygen from the water through its skin, but it also has lungs. They regularly go to the surface of the water to breathe through a tube that they bulge out. Pool snails have an elongated, pointed shell. They grow up to 6.5cm and, if too little rotting algae and weeds are available, can cause considerable damage to plants with floating leaves, such as water lilies, floating pondweed, yellow clump, etc. Then catch them where you see them .
  • Swamp horn snail (Viviparus viviparus)
    This water snail can be 4.5 cm long and carries a spacious house on its back. That house is light yellowish in color with a brown spiral band drawing. Swamp horn snails are less common than the previous two species. They only eat dead plant remains, algae and seaweed. Larger pond plants leave them alone. So ideal. They are extremely useful, because they are real cleaners in your (swimming) pond. If you have them in your pond, leave them alone. Their houses have a door (a small shield) that they close when they retreat to their house in case of danger. Also nice: they do not lay eggs, like the previous species, but are viviparous (viviparous: they give birth to their young alive).

Water snails are eaten by somewhat larger carp-like fish. They crack the houses, eat the snail meat and spit out the remains of the houses.

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