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How To Grow Vegetables

How To Kill Snails

Two of the most common garden pests are slugs and snails, both of which can demolish virtually any vegetable crop over night. Snails just like slugs love damp conditions, and hence just like slugs they love to come out in the evening just after you have watered your vegetables.

Whilst you will see them during the day, in general they tend to come out in large numbers at night when the ground is more likely to be damp. They also seem to have a sixth sense of smell and can seem to track down a newly planted cucumber plant at fifty paces.

The fact that they come out in the evenings means that going out in to your garden after dark is a good time to find them and kill them. I do say kill them as whilst you may choose to throw them in your compost heap or even hurl them some distance down your garden or over your garden fence, they will simply crawl back again using that sixth sense of smell that they have to find your vegetable plants. Simply go out at night with a torch and wearing gloves and find them in the glint of your torchlight and pick them up. Any snails you “Capture” will need to be crushed or drowned (A solution of strong saltwater or beer is ideal). Do not throw them on your compost heap as they will just thrive in it and use it as a breeding ground.

Whilst you can pour table salt on slugs to kill them, this technique does not work effectively with snails due to their shells. They are surface creatures and unlike slugs they do not burrow underground to hide, instead they can like damp shady conditions, such as hiding under ivy climbing up a house.

Potted plants can be protected by the use of copper rings around them, which can be easily purchased on the Internet. Just like with slugs the copper reacts with snails and gives them a mild self-created electric shock, and they will not cross over it. Of note though is that using copper rings will only prevent snails from attacking plants and not kill them outright.

The other relatively sure fire method is to use beer bated snail traps, these are effective at killing slugs as well. They work by the beer attracting the snails in and then the snail drowns in the beer – simple, yet highly effective! Both the use of copper rings and beer baited snail traps provide 100% organic pest control for snails, as is using a torch to “Harvest” them at night.

The only other real solution to kill snails is the liberal application of slug pellets around your vegetable crop. They will kill snails but do not seem to do so as effectively as slugs. You will need to put more slug pellets down every time after it rains. The chemicals from them will be washed in to the soil and hence enter the food chain, so if you use slug pellets to kill snails then you will not be able to class your vegetable crop as organic. I hope you found these tips on how to kill snails most useful.

By Richard Allen -

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