Organic Snail Control: How To Control Garden Snails

garden-snail
Image by Marilyn Peddle

By Heather Rhoades

Garden snails are kissing cousins to the nefarious slug that also terrorizes gardens. The common garden snail will chew through the tender leaves of plants, which, at best, looks unsightly and, at worst, will kill the plant. If these little buggers have had you asking yourself “how to control garden snails,” then you are at the right place. We will be looking at effective snail repellents and organic snail control.

What is the Common Garden Snail?

Chances are, if you have snails in your garden, it is the common garden snail, also called the brown garden snail. The scientific name is Helix aspersa. The common garden snail can be identified by its brown rounded shell and grey body.

How to Control Garden Snails

Here are the most common methods for getting rid of snails in the garden:

Introduce predators  - One effective organic snail control is to introduce or encourage predators. Make your garden friendly to small snakes, like the garter snake. These snakes enjoy eating garden snails as well as other common garden pests. You can also introduce decollate snails to your garden. Decollate snails will not harm your plants but will eat the common garden snail.

Lay down grit  - Many gritty substances make effective snail repellents. Gritty substances will cut the body of the snail, which will lead to it being injured. Crushed eggshells, sand or diatomaceous earth sprinkled around plants that the garden snails seem to prefer will deter and eventually kill these pests.

Set out traps  - A common snail trap is the beer pan. Simply fill a shallow pan with beer and leave it out overnight. The snails will be attracted to the beer and will drown in it. The beer will need to replaced every few days to remain effective.

Another trap is to find a flat object than can provide a dark, cool, moist location. Snails love dark, cool, moist areas. You can use a board, a piece of carpet, or thick cloth to create this environment. Water an area, then lay the object down over the damp area. Return in a few days and pick up the object. You can harvest and destroy the hiding snails.

Barriers  - Among effective snail repellents is barriers. This organic snail control means putting something in the path of the snails that they do not like. Copper wire, Vaseline, even just mesh curved outwards will help repel garden snails from your plants.

Now that you know more about how to control garden snails in your garden with these effective snail repellents and organic snail control, you can make sure that those slimy little buggers never bother your plants again.

This article was last updated on

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