Snails will chew through the tender new shoots of your plants, leaves, and even stem.
So are snails good for plants? Of course not.
You can indicate the presence of snails in your garden by seeing irregularly shaped holes on leaves, you might also see shiny slime trails across leaf surfaces.
Snails are often so abundant in the garden that some damage has to be tolerated.
Below are some questions and answers that will give you more clarity on all you need to know about snails in your garden.
Should you remove snails from plants?
How do you feel about having an unsightly parasitic pest feed off your plants, spreading diseases and parasitic worms amongst your pets, and endangering your health in the process?
Snails are slimy pests capable of destroying the plants in your garden and putting them in an unhealthy state, this is enough reason to remove any snail you see on your plant.
Below are the tips required to remove these bugger of a pest and keep them at bay:
Prevention and Control
- Keep plant greenery relatively dry to prevent snail feeding.
- Leave space between plants for good air circulation.
- Thin out crowded plants and remove potential hiding places such as boards or buckets.
- Water in the morning, so plants can dry before evening.
- If snails are rampant in your garden remove and avoid using organic mulches such as straw and leaves.
- Protect young plants by surrounding them with a border of diatomaceous earth, or crushed eggshells. Renew them as needed.
- Make your garden a harbor for natural snail predators such as birds, frogs, toads, and ground beetles.
- Handpick and eradicate snails by dropping them in a jar of soapy water. You’ll capture more if you go hunting at night. Use a slug trap or fill shallow containers with beer and sink them into the soil to trap slugs and snails.
- In the evening, set out food traps such as cabbage leaves and pieces of potato. In the morning, destroy the snails that have gathered in the traps.
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Do snails harm plants?
Snails not only eat decaying woods, crops and leaves but they also eat crops and flowers. Here are some of the plants they are most likely found on:
You might have noticed that snails move slowly but that shouldn’t deceive you, they can quickly bring doom upon your plant. Snails scrape out large holes and chips from across the surface area of plant leaves, they do this using their rough and rasp-like tongues.
They end up bringing destruction to your vegetation.
A snail could be present in your environment because they have food and shelter from the sun, they thrive so well in a foggy and rainy environment, once they get comfortable then, they will start feeding off the variety of plants in your garden bringing destruction upon them.
Make your garden uncomfortable for snails with these few steps:
- Eliminate hideouts. Dealing with snails starts with identifying and eliminating their hideouts. Cut back tall weeds and grasses, remove loose organic debris from your garden and property, and pick up tarps, boards, and anything else that could create a dark, moist hiding place for snails.
- Use drip irrigation. Drip irrigation reduces humidity and minimizes moist surface areas, thereby making your space less attractive for snails.
- Plant snail-resistant vegetation. Snails tend to stay away from aromatic plants, ornamental woody plants, and ornamental grasses.
Are snails good for potted plants?
Snails are not good for potted plants because they will eat most parts of the plant including foliage, flowers, and fruits. They will damage the leaves and stems of the plants which can cause the plant to die.
You can tell if snails are eating your plants by looking at the leaves. They will be eaten at the edges in a jagged manner.
You will also be able to see the silver trails of slime left by the snails near the potted plant.
Potting soil in a moist environment can have snails. The effects of these snails can be controlled by spreading eggshells and ashes on the soil, which creates an unsuitable environment for them to exist.
Are snails good or bad for the garden?
The most encountered snail in gardens is the common garden snail, Cornu aspersum, they are smaller and are banded yellow, white, and brown with a grey body. They are less damaging to plants and are most active at night and in wet weather.
Snails are dormant over winter and will hide in clusters under empty plant pots, large stones, and other protected areas. Snails reproduce in autumn and spring and lay groups of round, yellow-white eggs under logs, pots, and rocks.
Snails feed on a variety of living plants and decaying plant matter. They create irregular holes with smooth edges on leaves and blooms by rasping with their rasp-like tongues. Small succulent plant parts are easily cut off by snail feeding.
Because they prefer succulent vegetation or flowers, snails are mainly pests of seedlings and herbaceous plants.
They are also profound pests of turfgrass seedlings that are close to the ground. Snails will also feed on the young plant bark and foliage and fruit of some trees.
Snail damage can be mistaken for feeding by other pests such as earwigs, caterpillars, or other chewing insects.
Look for silvery mucous trails to confirm that slugs or snails caused the deterioration, rather than other pests
Even with all the damage caused by snails on a variety of plants, they are still of utmost importance.
They provide food for all sorts of mammals, birds, slow worms, earthworms, and insects and they are part of the natural balance. When that balance is disturbed by removing them we can cause a lot of harm.
Here are more reasons why snails are good for the garden:
- They feed on vegetation, excrement, and dead animals thereby decomposing them and fertilizing the soil in the process.
- Snails are higher in the food chain than other common garden pests meaning that they can protect your plant from other smaller bugs by eating them.
- The slime produced by snails serves as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
- Snails help clean up garden debris.