Snails! The site of these slow-moving slimy gastropods is enough to make any gardener’s blood boil.
The little buggers may look cute but they can wreak havoc on your plants by devouring leaves, flowering buds, and even the roots!
If you would like to know how to get rid of snails in your garden, here is a list of tried and true methods.
Non-Lethal Methods for Snail Removal
Certainly one of your options is to be nice and just move the snails out of your garden to a spot outside of your garden.
As snails are active at night, just grab your flashlight and just pluck them off (using gloves of course!). Throw them in a bucket and then dispose of them in the woods or a vacant lot.
While this is an extremely low-cost and gentile method of removal, you’ll need to dedicate several nights or weeks even to see any significant improvement.
You could speed up your relocation efforts by creating a melon trap for the snails. Simply take a melon rind and place it upside down near your garden.
The ends may need to be propped up a bit so that the snails can crawl underneath. The sweet melon smell will be such a temptation that you should find lots of snails hanging out under it when you awake the next morning.
You can simply relocate the snails or dispose of them permanently as you see fit.
One option that a lot of gardeners love is the use of copper tape to deter snails. Apparently, the copper reacts negatively to the snail but does not kill it.
There are several varieties of copper to choose from including mesh, tape, and wire. Most prefer to use wide copper adhesive tape greater than two inches wide.
Tape that is more narrow may allow the snail to stretch over it and effectively bypass it. Gardeners who had used the copper mesh generally anchored it to the ground which might require more maintenance compared to the tape.
Take It Up a Notch (Lethal Options)
If you’re going to go, this is definitely one of the better ways to do it. Snails are also attracted to beer so feel free to set a trap where you see snail activity.
The trap needs to be close to ground level so that the snail can enter easily. A beer bottle with just enough beer to cover the bottom when laying on its side is ideal.
You will need to remove some dirt so that the lip of the bottle is even with the ground. The snails will crawl inside and drink themselves to their demise making for easy cleanup in the morning.
There are several specialty products and traps you can purchase which certainly provides a better aesthetic than half-buried beer bottles!
Coffee can actually be used in two different ways to repel or kill snails. Coffee grounds make a formidable barrier for snails.
Just simply spread the ground around your garden beds. But what some scientists in Hawaii have discovered is that is may actually be the caffeine.
In fact, they did some tests that showed a caffeine solution sprayed on plants and surrounding ground killed small snails and deterred the larger ones. Not a bad way to recycle your leftover coffee each day.
All Out War
This is probably the most well-known method of killing snails but also probably one of the cruelest.
The salt pulls the water out the snail’s body effectively killing it of dehydration. If enough salt is pored on the snail it will actually bubble.
As much as I hate them, I do not take pleasure in such a gruesome death. A less dramatic option would be to place a barrier of salt that the snail has to crawl through.
The salt would still bring about the end of any snail that crawled through it but it would not be as gut-wrenching.
Another seemingly savage method of destroying those slimy snails is to use diatomaceous earth. Simply sprinkle it around the areas where you can see heavy snail activity.
As the snail moves over the jagged particles, the underbelly of the snails will become shredded and eventually succumb to dehydration.
Overall this is a much safer option for your plants as well since diatomaceous earth is not harmful to your plants whereas excess salt from the first option would certainly be an issue.
Just remember to reapply the diatomaceous earth after any rainfall as it is ineffective at snail killing if wet.
I hope this list helps you with your battle against snails in the garden. These are the most common methods but please feel free to comment below if you have been successful with any other actions. We gardeners need to band together against these slimy assassins!