They’re times when gardeners truly believe snails are alive simply to destroy their gardens. Snails and other small critters can do a lot of damage to a garden, but if you know more about them, you can lessen their impact with organic snail repellents. Part of the mollusk family these creatures produce a thin slim trail in order to get around. This makes it easier to identify them as your garden pest. Typically mild climates suffer the most damage to plants on a year-round basis.
First, snails are very picky about what they decide to destroy and graze on. Most of the time snails will only eat fallen debris, and leaves of your plants that are mature. It’s rare that they will actually feast on a vegetable. If you find leaves with holes in them, then you likely have a snail or slug infestation. One of the best times to try and discover them, and rid your garden of these pests, is during the night and days when the ground is wet or moist.
You should be able to see the trail of slime they leave behind and this will identify that you do indeed have snails in your garden and not some other creature. These trails look like lines of silver or can be reflective in nature. Look for these trails around pots and leaves of plants in your garden.
Adult snails can cause an amazing amount of damage to low-hanging leaves, and immature ones cause damage to the surface by rasping away the tissue. This is usually done while the mature snails are destroying leaves and shoots that are tender. Snails have been known to completely shred leaves or split them lengthwise, as seen in corn and grass. Snails are known to be one of the most destructive pests for farmers and usually cause a lot of damage during May and June. At this time, plants are trying to establish themselves and are vulnerable to damage from these critters.
Crops and plants that are most susceptible include broccoli, cabbage and in the flower family zinnias, petunias and lily of the valley are known to be favorites. It’s important to identify the type of snails you have in your garden. Different methods may be used to control certain species.
Lawns are often susceptible to damage from snails, although the grass is not usually their first choice. Flat snails can do a lot of damage to lawns by gnawing on healthy blades of grass and can leave the grass open to viral and bacterial infections. Lawns with damage from snails are easy to spot as they’ll have numerous bare spots or the grass looks completely dead.
Another aspect that’s important to understand is the lifecycle of these animals. They are both male and female at the same time, also known as hermaphrodite and each one is capable of laying batches of eggs that can be as high as 50 at a time. These eggs will look white and be translucent and spherical. Look for these eggs in compost heaps, dark and damp places and compost heaps. These are favored breeding grounds for snails. Gestation can be anywhere from three weeks to five months, depending on the time of year. Identifying and starting early to rid your garden of these pests is the best approach.
Ray C is an expert in animal control for lawns & gardens and part-time writer who often shares various tips on various organic snail repellents.