The only threat is from slugs in the garden. You can safely welcome other snails, such as the snail, to your garden.
It is best to use biological means to fight snails. These are often cheaper than chemical agents from the hardware store.
Chemical agents cause the snails to die. It can also endanger your pets or children.
Almost every hobby gardener has already been annoyed by a snail plague in his garden. In particular, the slugs are among the most radical pests, because the night-time leaf eaters eat all the leaves in flower and vegetable beds, can cause great damage there and also leave slimy traces.
However, if you fight the snails early and combine different methods, you can prevent a proliferation and thus a snail infestation. At heimwerker.de we present the most effective home remedies and chemical methods for snail control.
1. How to recognize a snail infestation in the garden
In damp weather, countless snails fall over lettuce plants, herbs or cabbages and can completely destroy them overnight. But not only vegetables, but also ornamental plants such as dahlias, hostas, student flowers or young sunflowers fall victim to them.
In our gardens there are mostly slugs and field snails. More generally, they are known collectively as slugs. Compared to other snails, slugs do not have a house on their back or have a regrown house in the form of a rudimentary lime deposit inside. A house serves snails primarily to protect them from predators and the cold. Slugs, on the other hand, have very, thick and slimy skin that serves as protection. They crawl in the cold.
They live in meadows and hedges and are mainly active in the evening, at night or on rainy days, as they lose too much fluid during the day and excessive loss of fluid can lead to their drying out and death.
To find out whether a snail plague is developing in your garden, pay attention to the following information:
As omnivores, slugs are not picky in the garden and can eat most garden plants. The only thing left of them is the eroded stems, in the vicinity of which traces of mucus or faeces can often be found.
The right time to fight snails in the garden: While snails crawl in warm and dry summers, they can reproduce excellently on cool and rainy autumn days. For this reason, it is important to control these pests in spring and autumn before the offspring hatch from the eggs and a snail infestation breaks out in the garden.
2. It is best to control snails biologically
To fight snails, garden owners have the choice between home remedies, mechanical agents and chemical substances. Basically, you should only use chemicals if the natural or mechanical methods do not help. Chemical agents not only harm the snails, but also other living things in your garden. If you have pets or like to roam the neighboring cat through your garden, chemical agents are taboo.
The best known remedies for snails are as follows:
Mechanical: loosen soil, collect snails by hand
Naturally: attract nematodes and natural predators, snail fences and salad hoods
Chemical: snail grain, iron phosphate and methaldehyde
Natural snail predators are: hedgehogs, birds (e.g. blackbird), chickens, ducks, slow crawls, frogs or centipedes.
3. Fight snails with home remedies
Before you buy snail control products, we recommend that you try them with a little handicraft and home remedies. The following methods are often sufficient to combat snails in the garden.
3.1. Loosen the soil
Snails lay their eggs in the ground in autumn. To freeze them in frost, mulch and loosen the soil. It is important not to use fresh vegetable residues for mulching, as these can attract snails. It is better to mix dry straw into the mulch.
A rake should not be missing to skillfully loosen the soil. If your rake has already had its best times, we recommend you take a look at our rake comparison, including purchase advice.
3.2. Tedious but effective: collect snails
Snails are active in the dark. Therefore, you should water the garden in the morning so that the plants absorb the water and the soil dries until evening. If the pests leave their hiding place, you can collect them in the evening to prevent further spread. For easier collection, you can lay out boards or boxes under which the animals hide.
3.3. Snail fences and collars as inexpensive barriers for your beds
Another method of fighting snails is by using snail fences and snail collars. These barriers are made of a smooth material, such as plastic or galvanized sheet steel, and have an outward-curved edge that prevents crawling snails from overcoming them. Snail fences are placed 10 cm deep in the ground and should be at least 10 cm high. So that the animals do not overcome the obstacle with plants, these fences must be cleaned regularly.
Those who grow lettuce in the garden are best protected with a lettuce hood. This is simply placed over the lettuce and thus stops voracious snails. You can already buy snail fences and salad hoods very cheaply online or at the hardware store.
3.4. Natural barriers keep snails out of your beds
Slugs prefer moist and wet ways to get to the plants. If you sprinkle sawdust, sand, stone dust or quicklime around the beds or along the hedges, you will avoid the rough soil.
In order to keep the animals away from the garden beds, some gardeners produce a so-called snail broth, in which dead snails are cut up and rejuvenated and then poured over the plants.
3.5. Roundworms against wetted field snails
Nematodes of the phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita species have proven to be very effective especially for combating networked field snails. The roundworms penetrate the snails and release a bacterium that causes feeding stops after three days. The snails die after another three to six days.
We only recommend this method if you are no longer able to control the situation. Of course, snails are annoying in the garden, but fighting snails does not necessarily have to be fatal to the animals.
3.6. Defense against snails: snail trap with beer
A simple and effective snail trap that attracts the animals in spring can be tinkered with a sturdy mug and a little beer. Dig the mug up to three centimeters into the ground to prevent other animals from falling in and fill it halfway with beer.
The smell of the beer attracts snails at a distance of 50 m. They crawl in and drown. The disadvantage: the beer has to be replaced after every rain. If the snail trap is to be used for longer, the cup should be covered. Alternatively, such covered traps are commercially available.
However, this snail trap not only attracts those from your own garden, but also useful snails from the surrounding area.
4. Chemical agents against snails
If the home remedies do not help and no snail fences are to be erected, only the use of chemical preparations that are available from specialist dealers helps:
4.1. Follow the directions on the package
Use iron phosphate or methaldehyde to fight snails, follow the instructions on the instructions. You should also keep in mind that these agents literally destroy the snails – they are fatal.
A special feature: iron phosphate causes the snails to burrow in before they die.
When using chemical agents, keep in mind that these also useful snails, such as the nature snail, which is protected by nature, eat the clutch of slugs.
4.2. Effective against snails with snail grain
4.2.1. Application: The plague is stopped with a weekly application
In the case of very heavy infestation, slug pellets are often used. The most effective way to fight snails is after an evening downpour. According to the instructions for use, both the garden areas to be protected and the adjacent areas are treated. To ensure that all slugs have been removed, slug pellets should be used at weekly intervals.
Fight snails with salt
Be sure not to use salt to fight snails. If you sprinkle salt on the snails, they suffer a gruesome death if they dry out quickly.
4.2.2. Effect: In any case fatal
The effect of this agent depends on the active ingredient it contains. If you don’t want to find dead snails in the beds, you should use iron III phosphate. This substance quickly stops the animals from eating and causes them to retreat to a hiding place before they die. With other chemical agents, the snails die on site and expel.
4.2.3. Disadvantages of the slug pellet: Other garden residents are also exposed to dangers
Snail grain kills all snail species, which is why the vineyard snail, which is a nature reserve, falls victim to them. This is not considered a pest. In addition, the active substances pose a danger to other garden residents as well as pets and children.