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by Anna Wong
(Nipomo, CA)

Will my annuals survive after snail attack?

Hi Anna, it totally depends what kinds of plants, and how much damage they’ve done. If you don’t deal with the snails, they’ll keep coming back until there’s nothing left, so don’t waste a minute.

I don’t know how you feel about using any kind of chemical bait, but if you have pets, I would shy away from any kind of metaldehyde bait; they work well, but other animals are attracted to them too.

Instead, place a board over the soil, and check under it every morning; as snails do most of their ‘work’ under cover of darkness, when the air and soil is moist from dew.

They hide from the sun under objects that will be shady and cool; this gives you the chance of collecting them and dumping them into a bucket of water – they’re not very good swimmers.

Alternately, use lava rock, ashes or other sharp material around the plants; molluscs (snails and slugs) don’t like to go over these kinds of mulches, but it won’t get rid of them, they’ll just avoid that place and move on to something easier to get at.

Another common way of getting them is to put small dishes (lids off jars or a shallow plastic container) and use beer or fruit juice to fill them, and the snails are attracted to it and fall in. It’s a messy death, so clean them out (compost them!) fairly often.

Hope that gives you some options and your annuals will survive the carnage.
Best of luck!