How to Get Rid of Garden Snails

Four Methods:Reducing Snail ActivityRemoving Snails By HandTrapping SnailsOther Ways

Garden snails enjoy snacking on leaves, fruit, bark and flowers. They prefer seedlings and herbs, feeding on them when they are small and vulnerable. Garden snails are hermaphrodites, so they all have potential to lay eggs and create a larger problem.[1] Here's a mix of methods to get rid of the snails and keep them from coming back.

Method 1
Reducing Snail Activity

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    Water in the morning. Snails are most active at night in wet soil. If the beds dry out slightly, your garden will look less attractive to them.
    • Likewise, if you are setting a snail trap, you should water the garden to encourage them to be active and take the bait.
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    Keep your garden free of metal cans, wooden boards and other shelters. This is where snails hide during the day and lay eggs.
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    Save your eggshells. Place them around the base of plants that snails like to chew. The snails have difficulty sliding over the rough edges of the shells.[2]
    • Garden snails particularly like beans, cabbage, basil, delphinium, hosta, dahlia, lettuce, strawberries and marigolds.
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    Plant species that are resistant to garden snails. These include geraniums, impatiens, ornamental grasses, sage, rosemary, lavender, begonias, California poppies, fuchsias and lantana.[3]
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    Make copper collars for pots and tree trunks. You can even place a copper collar around plants that are planted in the soil. Snails can’t climb up a thick copper collar.
    • You can buy copper bands at garden shops, but make sure it is at least six to 8 inches (15.2 to 20.3 cm) wide.

Method 2
Removing Snails By Hand

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    Wet the soil in the late afternoon or evening. You want to draw out the snails before you hand pick them. Do this early in your garden’s season before the snails have had time to lay eggs.
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    Wait for the sun to set. Find a flashlight.
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    Prepare a bucket of salty water. This is where you will place the snails, unless you want to relocate them. Make sure the salty water doesn’t spill into your garden, or it will kill your plants.
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    Grab a pair of tweezers or chopsticks. You can pluck the snails off plants easier than you would with gloves.
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    Shine your flashlight on the garden and begin sleuthing. Look under leaves, on leaves, under boards and around all of your plants. Pick up the snails one by one and plop them in the water.
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    Discard the salty water and dead snails far away from your garden.[4]

Method 3
Trapping Snails

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    Wet the soil in the evening to draw snails out into your garden.
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    Find a deep saucer or plastic yogurt container with smooth edges to use as the base of your trap. You can buy a snail trap from garden stores or online that has a saucer and a lid for under $10.
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    Bury the saucer in your garden so that the lip is flush with the level of your garden bed. If it sits above the soil, the snails won’t be able to enter the trap.
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    Measure one tsp. (six g) of salt. Sprinkle it into the bottom of the trap. Be very careful not to sprinkle any salt on your soil or plants.
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    Open a fresh can of beer. Fill it just below the brim of the saucer. Leave the beer mixture to sit in your garden.
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    Place a beer snail trap in other areas of your garden. It has the capacity to entice snails located within one m (3.2 feet) of the trap.
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    Empty the saucer of dead snails and refill it every few days, until you have dealt with your garden snail problem.[5]

Method 4
Other Ways

  1. 1
    If you have ducks/chickens, let them out to the area where you have a snail problem. Ducks and chickens will hunt and eat snails and other small creatures in your garden. They'll even provide a free fertilizer for you.
  2. 2
    Sprinkle coffee grounds on the soil or around plants. Coffee grounds will dry out the soil and snails don't like travelling on dry ground.
  3. 3
    Apply snail pellets around your plants. Snails will eat the pellets and therefore die from poisoning, just be aware that these are poisonous to wildlife and your pets as well.
  4. 4
    Scatter sand or bark on the soil. Snails have difficulty travelling across sand/bark and tend not to try unless they are desperate.
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    Sprinkle salt on the soil. Salt is highly dangerous to snails and can kill them but it isn't a good idea to scatter it near plants or on a place where you are going to grow some plants.
  6. 6
    Try to Attract wildlife that eat snails in your garden. Birds, toads and even some types of snakes will feed on snails (mostly birds).
  7. 7
    Spread diatomaceous earth around your plants. A great, natural solution to get rid of not only snails but other creatures as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Egg shells
  • Snail-resistant plants
  • Copper bands
  • Tweezers/chopsticks
  • Flashlight
  • Saucer/yogurt container
  • Snail trap
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Beer

Article Info

Categories: Garden Pests and Weeds