top of page

SHARING SECRETS: Snails and Slugs

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Brown garden snail, Cornu aspersum easily climbs over sharp-edged knives placed in its path.

Edited by Tina Ivany.

The editor of this column wandered into her garden after the recent rains and was immediately confronted by several enormous snails, also apparently admiring the new spring foliage.  Do you have an effective strategy for keeping slugs and snails away from your plants?

Pat Venolia: Sluggo! I’ve used it for years, and it works.

Lisa Bellora: Copper tape.

Charlotte Getz: I use Sluggo around plants or apply a border of Sluggo if several plants are targeted. Sluggo is safe around pets. I have also used copper banding strips in the past, but it is more expensive than sprinkling Sluggo around plants.

Lisa Rini: Use decollate snails...continue picking off adult snails every night and throwing them out...spread the decollates and soon the baby snails will be eaten by them - and the decollates do absolutely no damage to plants!  They basically handle the next generation of brown snails - you just need to deal with adults right now...i did this several years ago and have not had a brown snail in my garden for 10 years - and i have an extensive bromeliad collection - one of their favorite places to hang out!

Kathleen Voltin: I put two bowls into my strawberry patch, imbedded into the ground so that the edge is level with the dirt. I fill it with beer each week. The slugs crawl in and drown. When I empty it out each week I pour the slug bodies and remaining beer into a Ziplock baggie and dispose of it. 

Michael Keith: What we normally do at Cal Coast Pest Management to decrease the amount snail activity is consistent treatment with snail bait due to fast reproduction, especially after the rain. 

Or you can utilize/add natural predators to help eat all the snails like lizards, frogs and crows. Make an environment for the natural predators to come and then they consistently come to that section to eat the over population of snails.

Al Myrick: Pick ‘em.

Kathy LaCombe: For trees and other plants with stalks that they can climb, I have had some luck with copper tape.  Otherwise, Sluggo helps, but they reproduce so fast that it barely touches it.

Cindy Bruecks: Great question. I clearly recall getting out of the car at the Auto Club office, right after a heavy rain, only to stand up and realize as I turned around that I was face to face with several huge snails who had climbed the parking island's desert mesquite tree to get out of the standing water. I KNOW they weren't eating anything in those branches but they sure looked odd! And the close parking configuration meant my face was only inches from theirs.

For specimen plants and also trees, use a copper collar at ground level and be sure there isn't an alternate path into the foliage via branches touching a fence or building.

I noticed a marked reduction in snails and slugs when I changed over to micro-spray. With the little sprayers I only wet the area around selected plants' root balls. There is no general "sprinkling" like I used to have with rotor sprinklers. Also, the foliage generally isn't dripping wet with the micro- spray. I think I was encouraging snails by over-watering! They don't like dry mulch, they prefer damp protected spaces. Not puddles, as the mesquite snails demonstrated, just moist and drippy and easy to "slime around" in.

Vivian Black: I have found that putting sand on the area they have to cross over will usually stop them. In this weather they thrive, and to remove them in the rain is an asset, but it's a slimy operation. One could always eliminate them French style and make escargot.

Stephen Zolezzi: OPOSSUMS are a carnivorous scavenger well adapted to rooting out snails and slugs, which were a major problem in my yard. Then I started seeing shells with holes in the shell where the Opossum sucked it out----now no snails/slugs. Thanks, Opossums.


bottom of page