I am having a problem with snails. I am looking for an organic remedy to protect my garden from them. Is there anything I can use without wasting my precious beer?

I am having a problem with snails. I am looking for an organic remedy to protect my garden from them. Is there anything I can use without wasting my precious beer?

Marshall Walden,

There are a number of things you can do to protect your garden without too much effort. First, remove hiding places that are attractive to them and where they are likely to hang out. They are active at night and on foggy and rainy days. During the day they enjoy a cool moist area such as under boards, and in holes along fences, in debris or tall ground covers. Removing these spaces from the garden makes it far less attractive to them. On the other hand, creating specific moist spaces where they like to congregate can make hand trapping easy. A few boards in the shade or some watermelon rinds make excellent temporary shelters. Once they are apprehended they can be drowned or stepped on and then thrown into the compost left in the garden.

Since they are attracted to moist areas, it is best to water early in the day so the surface has a chance to dry off. Using drip rather than watering large areas limits their territory somewhat.

Beer or a combination of sugar, water and yeast attract the mollusks. To implement the plan dig a little hole and place the container top at soil level. Fill it half way with the beer or sugar-water solution and wait till evening. The creatures will sense the odor and make snail-lines to it, fall in and drown. The snail pub is effective for a radius of about two feet so your garden may require a number of local protective cups.

The two easiest ways to protect the garden from snails is using copper mesh or powdered iron phosphate.

Snails and slugs secrete a slime that helps them move. Researchers think that the copper reacts with the slime electrically and disrupts their nervous systems. Copper flashing, screen or soil can be used around a garden or raised bed perimeter or placed around trays of seedlings or containers with young susceptible plants. If you are placing it around a raised bed or garden perimeter try to eliminate the population from the protected area. The barrier traps any crawlers that are in the enclosed area.

Iron phosphate powder is widely available under two brand names, Slug-Go and Escar-Go. Scatter the powder all around the area you are protecting. When
The mollusks come in contact with it they stop feeding and go to hiding places to die in private. It is pet safe, can be used in organic gardens and is very effective. A single treatment sometimes lasts an entire season and it is economical enough to use to protect large areas.


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