Sneaky Snails

Certain worries are reserved for certain times of the year.  In the summer I couldn’t care less about the impending winter and the prospect of arctic conditions flash freezing my favorites.  Likewise in the winter I give little thought to our resident mollusc population. Now it seems that the time has come to begin the worrying.  The army is being mobilised and the evidence apparent.  Of course the mild winter, which I championed whilst basking in the middle of it, didn’t help.  A harsh weather would have culled a significant proportion of these adversaries.  The same goes for my praising of the picturesque walls and their convenient, just out of reach, resting places for snails.

We have adopted several methods with which we wage war, or at least try to protect some of our more scrumptious plants.  Some are more brutal than others, some definitely more effective.

  1. Soil Association approved or as I call them “good” slug pellets: well not terribly good for the slugs and snails but to other wildlife hopefully harmless.  We try to keep use to a minimum.
  2. Barrier granules: worked pretty well last year but don’t go very far and get breached pretty easily.
  3. Beer: no we don’t drink it to drown our sorrows when the delphiniums get munched, we make beer traps.  I like to think the critters drown happy.
  4. Secateurs/lawn edger: Very fast but a bit messy.
  5. Boots (snail specific): See above.

We also try to keep the more vulnerable, such as dahlias, in the greenhouse until they are a larger, tougher and less tasty.  It will never be 100% effective and is unlikely to be even by using some noxious poison, but when I see a thrush in the garden giving me a helping hand with the snails, I know we have achieved some kind of balance.



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2 responses to “Sneaky Snails

  1. Alan Bannister

    Spent a happy afternoon pruning our Campsis radicans (it’s a good 20′ x 20′) and revealed hordes of harlequin ladybirds. No doubt I should have zapped them but am not yet able to bring myself to do it. Time will tell if I change my mind!

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