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Pesky snails

IS THERE anything else I can do about the snail problem in my garden? I use snail pellets, I squash, I try to keep everything weedfree, but there are copious numbers of snails. We've only been here two years. Would part of the problem be still emerging snails from eggs laid previous to our living here? I'm beginning to feel desperate. They are even in the heads of cabbage and broccoli when I cut them.


FOR a snail problem to be as bad as you describe I tend to think there's somewhere nearby that is the source of the problem, such as stacks of old rubbish, timber or the likes, that's harbouring masses of snails, which come out at night or when the weather is wet. Old weatherboard homes or garden sheds can also have masses of snails sheltering in their nooks and crannies close to ground level.

If you keep applying bait on a regular basis you should reduce the problem, especially if you can find and apply bait near the source of the problem.

There are several other things you can do in the garden to help protect your plants. Don't leave lots of compost or other organic material on the soil surface. It just provides hiding places for them. Cultivate the soil regularly to bury all organic material. If you do want to mulch, use sand, sawdust or granulated bark, all of which slugs and snails dislike travelling over. You could even try sprinkling sand around particularly precious plants to provide a barrier over which snails are reluctant to cross.

Control nearby vegetation so there's no long grass or such like where they can shelter. And remember, slugs and snails are at their worst when the weather is cool and damp - usually spring and autumn - so that's when you can knock the population down with timely applications of bait.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 151, 2004, Page 26

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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