Q. I am attaching a picture of tiny snails that have invaded and killed off quite a few patches of our grass. I cannot seem to find any information about these tiny snails anywhere! I was hoping you might be able to identify them so we can eradicate them from our lawn.
|Snails on lawn area of reader|
A. It is unusual for snails to be a problem in lawns in our climate. My guess would be that parts of a lawn that might be susceptible to snails would be on the shadier sides of the yard. Usually those areas in full sun would not suffer as badly. Secondly, these snails usually come in on landscape plants brought into the yard from nurseries. Your strategy should be to remove any habitat that is favorable for them and reduce their numbers.
Mowing the lawn shorter, watering more deeply and less often should help. Try to avoid daily applications of water when weather permits. This may not be possible in midsummer months. Frequently lawns have irrigation systems that are not what we called "zoned" for different microclimates. When irrigation systems for lawns have valves that water a hot side of the landscape and, at the same time, water the cooler side of the landscape (west and north sides or south and east sides) then the cooler sides of the landscape may become overwatered just because the hotter side will determine when to irrigate.
This may be too late in some circumstances or not possible but whenever possible try to zone irrigations so that west and south sides may be irrigated at the same time and east and north sides are watered or zoned together as well. In other words when a valve comes on it should be designed to water different microclimates separately.
If you have to pair sides of the landscape then pair west and south together and east and north together. Never pair north and south or west together or east and west and south together.
As far as getting rid of existing snails there are a couple of things you can do. They do make a snail and slug bait commercially that you can put out into your shrub or ground cover area. You can also make your own bait by using beer. Open a can of inexpensive beer and leave it opened for a day or two until it gets stale. Take a shallow bowl or plate and place it into the shrub area buried up to its lip. Pour in the stale beer into this shallow plate or bowl so that they can crawl into the stale beer and die a happy death.
You can also place pieces of cardboard into this landscape area and wet them down so they don't blow away or put rocks on them to weight it down. Snails usually come out when it is dark and retreat into shady spots during the day. During the day pick up the cardboard and remove the snails from under it or on it and dispose of them. Place the cardboard on the soil again and repeat this until your numbers dwindle or they disappear. You will have to repeat it in about a month when a new crop of them emerge. I hope this helps