Type your question here!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Snail Control from a Scottish Perspective

Hello Robert (a.k.a. Xtremehort)
I've recently moved from the cool, humid gardening of Scotland to the arid, sun-scorched earth of southern Nevada. What an adventure - complete opposites in the gardening world.

I discovered your blog while searching for help with plants and I'm enjoying reading your posts and learning a lot about gardening issues here in the desert.  And I spotted your older post on snail problems and thought your readers might like to know what I tried.
Vacant snail shells picture from the reader
I discovered hostas one day, while exploring a big gardening exhibition, and decided I had to have these fabulous plants in my garden.  So I bought several varieties, took them home and had fun planting them out.
Readers Hostas
Big mistake. It was like putting up a neon sign saying, "Free Caviar Here Guys" as snails descended on my garden. Now I should add that I hadn't seen many snails up to this point.  So how the heck did they know I had planted hostas?  Overnight they stripped a few of my young plants to almost bare stalks so war was declared.

As we had a variety of pets at that time, and a resident hedgehog under the shed, I wanted to avoid using anything that could be toxic. 

I had tried several of the suggestions you mention in your blog, but without much success.  I also tried using:

  • crushed egg shells and coffee grounds mix - limited success.
  • crushed garlic and coffee grounds - again limited success.  (But this works well around the base of roses and keeps the bug population down)
  • chunks of orange and lemon peel
  • pieces of slightly crushed-up aluminum foil around the plant
  • cocoa bark mulch

But none of these proved to be good long-term solutions. 

uj cross bearings castrol chassis grease good water resistant ...
Scottish recommendation

By adding hostas I was obviously offering 4-star Michelin cuisine, and my garden was rapidly being overtaken by snails and their extended slug families. So I decided to dig up all my hostas and put them in large clay pots.  That solved the problem for a short time. 

Then I discovered the perfect answer, after chatting to friends who were gardeners.  

Vehicle grease.

It worked 100%. I smeared Castrol multi-purpose chassis grease, about 2 inches up from the base of each pot. They couldn't go through it.  And if you apply a thick layer, it lasts for ages. 
For added protection, I also sat the pots on sharp gravel. At last my hostas started to thrive and look beautiful. 

Until one day I noticed familiar munching marks on a few leaves.  That's when I discovered that snails are clever little blighters.  And not easily deterred.  They were dropping onto the hostas from overhanging plants. After a bit of relocation and plant pot checking to catch the ones that were hiding, I solved that problem too.  I'd finally won the war.

I hope this might help some of your readers with their snail problems.  Happy gardening and thanks for all your grand advice. 

No comments:

Post a Comment