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10 Easy and Effective Ways to Get Rid of Snails in Your Yard

Whether you’re a keen gardener or simply enjoy the serenity of your backyard, snails can quickly become an unwelcome sight. Their voracious eating habits can wreak havoc on your prized plants, leaving you frustrated and out of solutions. This article is about to change that. We’ve compiled ten simple yet effective strategies to help you deal with these slimy invaders so you can restore peace to your yard.

Key Takeaways

  • Copper and certain plants such as geraniums, ferns, mint, lavender, and rosemary can naturally deter the common snail.
  • Homemade solutions like beer traps and vinegar sprays can effectively and cost-effectively control snails.
  • When natural deterrents and homemade solutions are insufficient, commercial snail baits like boric acid and iron phosphate can be used as a last resort.

Natural Snail Repellents

Using nature’s power is a great way to deal with a snail infestation in your garden. In the next section, we’ll explore effective natural remedies and deterrents to show you how to get rid of these slimy mollusks without harsh pesticides:

1. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth, a soft sedimentary rock that crumbles into a fine, white powder, is an effective, non-toxic deterrent for snails. It’s composed of the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms known as diatoms. This powder targets mollusks like snails and slugs by getting into their joints and under their shells, causing them to dehydrate and die.

Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around your garden forms a protective barrier, deterring these pests without damaging your plants. Remember to reapply after a heavy rain, as water can wash it away. This method, a part of integrated pest management, is a safe and eco-friendly way to maintain a snail-free garden.

2. Coffee

Believe it or not, your morning cup of joe could be the answer to your snail problem. When spread around your garden, coffee grounds can be a natural repellent against snails and slugs. The caffeine in coffee is toxic to these pests, and they’ll avoid crawling over the grounds.

Additionally, coffee grounds enrich your soil with nitrogen, which benefits plant growth. Recycle your used coffee grounds by sprinkling them around your plants or mixing them into your garden soil.

3. Eggshells

This commonly discarded kitchen waste item is a treasure trove in organic gardening. When sprinkled around your plants, crushed eggshells create a barrier that snails are reluctant to cross. The sharp edges of the crushed shells can cut into the snails' soft bodies, discouraging them from damaging your plants.

Plus, as the eggshells break down, they enrich your soil with calcium, a nutrient that strengthens plant cell walls. This means better defense against other pests and diseases and healthier, happier plants.

4. Copper

Copper, a seemingly ordinary metal, can be an extraordinary deterrent in your fight against snails. When a snail comes into contact with copper, a chemical reaction occurs, creating a small electric shock that discourages the critter from crossing the barrier.

Copper tape, available at most gardening stores, can be wrapped around plant pots or laid along the borders of your garden beds. It’s a non-toxic, harmless solution that protects your plants while keeping snails at bay.

5. Plants

Interestingly, some plants offer a natural line of defense against snails. Planting these snail-resistant varieties in your garden can help deter these pests and reduce the damage they cause. Here are a few you might consider:

  • Geraniums: These beautiful flowering plants have a scent that snails find unattractive, making them an excellent choice for a snail-proof garden.
  • Ferns:Many ferns, particularly the sword fern, are unpalatable to snails due to their leathery leaves and lack of tender, juicy stems that snails love.
  • Mint:This aromatic herb has a strong scent that snails dislike. Besides, it’s a versatile plant used in teas, mojitos, or to spice up your summer salads.
  • Lavender:Much like mint, lavender’s strong scent is off-putting to snails. Plus, it’s a hardy, drought-resistant plant that adds a lovely splash of purple to your garden.
  • Rosemary:This herb is a triple threat: it’s unappetizing to snails, adds flavor to your dishes, and is a perennial plant requiring minimal maintenance.

6. Beer Traps

Unexpectedly, your leftover beer can serve a noble purpose in your garden. It can help trap and eradicate pesky snails as they’re attracted to beer's "tasty" yeast.

Here’s how it works:Take a shallow container, like a pie tin, and bury it in your garden so that the rim is level with the ground. Fill it with beer, just enough to drown the snails, but not so much they can climb out. The snails, drawn to the beer, will crawl in and drown. Ensure you refill the trap every few days.

And don’t worry, this method doesn’t attract more snails to your garden; it only traps the ones already there. What’s more, beer traps are harmless to other wildlife and pets.

7. Vinegar

You’ll be surprised to learn that the humble vinegar in your pantry can double up as an effective snail repellent (this also works for ants and rodents too). The acetic acid in vinegar is lethal to snails, causing them to dehydrate and die. To use vinegar as a snail deterrent:

  1. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water to create a solution.
  2. Spray this solution around the edges of your garden, plant pots, or anywhere you notice snail activity.
  3. Don't spray directly on your plants, as vinegar can damage them. This inexpensive solution can help you keep snails at bay while preserving the health of your garden.

Snail Bait

If all else fails, you can give commercial snail bait a shot. However, be careful when choosing a snail bait. Many contain chemicals that can harm beneficial insects and wildlife in your garden. Remember, moderation is essential when using these snail traps. You don’t want to hurt your garden’s ecosystem while trying to protect it from snails:

8. Boric Acid

If you’re dealing with severe snail infestations, you may need to resort to stronger measures. Boric acid is a chemical compound that’s deadly to snails but poses minimal risk to other organisms. You can sprinkle boric acid around the edges of your garden or mix it with water and spray it on affected areas. Great for dealing with Silverfish as well.

9. Iron Phosphate

This naturally occurring substance is another potent snail killer. It’s an active ingredient in many commercial snail baits and poses minimal risks to pets, birds, and beneficial insects. Iron phosphate bait comes as pellets you can scatter around your plants or mix into the soil.

10. Molluscicides - metaldehyde

Metaldehyde is a chemical commonly used in snail baits to kill slugs and snails. However, it’s highly toxic to other animals, birds, and beneficial insects, making it an environmentally unfriendly option. These also come in pellet form, so they’re easy to use. But use them carefully.

Slugs and Snails: What’s the Difference?

Though they may appear similar at first glance, slugs and snails have several key differences that are important to note when developing a strategy for pest control.

Slugs, unlike their shelled counterparts, are essentially snails without a shell. This lack of protective casing allows them more flexibility when it comes to hiding places - they are often found under rocks, inside logs, and in other damp locations in your garden.

On the other hand, snails carry their houses on their back, and their diet mainly consists of plant matter, making your lush garden an all-you-can-eat buffet. Especially your everyday brown garden snail. Recognizing the differences between these two pests can help you fine-tune your approach and reclaim your garden.

Identifying Snail Damage on Leaves

Snails can cause significant damage to your plants, often leaving telltale signs of their presence. Here is how you can detect snail damage:

  • Holes in Leaves:Snails leave irregularly shaped holes in leaves. These holes are often large and ragged, unlike the neat circles left by other pests.
  • Slime Trails:You might notice a slimy trail on your plants or the nearby soil. This is snail slime, a clear sign that snails have been feasting on your plants.
  • Damaged Seedlings:Snails have an appetite for young, tender plants. If your seedlings are disappearing or look like they’ve been nibbled on, snails could be the culprits.
  • Chewed Flower Buds and Bark:Snails don’t limit their diet to leaves. They will also chew on flower beds, bark, vegetable gardens, or acidic grapefruits as food sources. Snails could be to blame if you notice these parts of your plants are damaged.

When to Call Professional Services

If your garden is overwhelmed by snails despite your efforts, consider calling professional pest control services. We have the tools and methods to manage snail infestations effectively. Our process is simple: assess your garden, identify problem areas, and provide tailored solutions.

With our ongoing support and advice, you can preserve the integrity of your garden. Contact us today to help win your battle against these slimy garden pests!