En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 06, 2009

From: Kingwood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests
Title: Snails in my flower beds
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Kingwood, Texas (north of Houston). I have been inundated with snails in my flower beds in my front & backyard. I really didn't want to use a pesticide, but they were eating all of my flowers, pumpkin vines, watermelons, etc..so I gave it a try-- for months. Still these snails thrive. Is there something natural, other than hand harvesting the snails that I can use?

ANSWER:

Yuck! Have you ever wondered if they are alien invaders working undercover? We really hate them, too. The best website overall we have found on getting rid of the little monsters is this University of California Integrated Pest Management site Snails and Slugs. Read the information about pesticides very carefully, some of them can be lethal to other creatures.

In reading through that and several other websites, we think some of the best ideas we found included not leaving anything, like a piece of wood, on the ground where they can hide from the sun during the day. Of course, we've all heard the "beer in a saucer" trick, where they fall in and die. Our only problem with that is what you do you with a saucerful of beer and dead snails? One person said he liked to throw them out in the street and listen to their shells crack. An old favorite is sprinkling diotomaceous earth (DE) around under the leaves where they like to lurk. Supposedly this strips off some protective covering and they ooze to death. You must be very careful with the DE, though. It is composed of fossil algae, tiny, and inhaling it can strip some protective covering from your lungs, too. Seriously, wear a mask, or sprinkle very carefully. Whatever you choose will have to be redone after every rain, and you need to keep any litter, like leaves or wilted flowers, etc. cleaned up off the garden floor. With that sort of thing on the ground, they can have a snack and a nap in the shade, too. 

 

More Pests Questions

Problems with iguanas in Ft. Lauderdale FL
August 04, 2009 - I live on the intracoastal waterway near Ft. Lauderdale,FL and I am having problems with iguana. They will not eat lantana or buttercups; however is there a poisonous ground cover, preferable with fl...
view the full question and answer

Dog-proof grass from The Woodlands TX
April 26, 2013 - I am looking for a hardy grass that can tolerate female dogs urine. Zoysia was suggested but I am concerned about it being invasive. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Oak tree with browning leaves in Brenham TX
August 16, 2011 - I have a large oak tree in my small back yard. I also have a sprinkler so the tree has been receiving some water. Nevertheless, some of the leaves are turning brown in patches. Would drip watering ...
view the full question and answer

Mosquito repelling plants from Euless TX
July 24, 2013 - Are there any shade loving plants that repel mosquitoes for North Central Texas? I checked your site and saw nothing on this topic.
view the full question and answer

Termites found in dying/dead plants
March 19, 2009 - Recently I have noticed that when investigating native plants that have passed on, such as my deceased Erythrina herbacea, often times I find termites in the remaining central stem. It has been extre...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center