Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Infestation of shiny red and blue/black beetles
May 27, 2014 - I have an infestation of 1 cm long shiny red and blue/black beetles. They have red heads with black eyes and antenna, 2 (?) red spots on their sides, and a bluish black body. Before I kill them with ...
view the full question and answer

Will Canada geese eat Asclepias tuberosa from Cape May Court, NJ
May 20, 2014 - Will Canada geese eat my butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)? I know this plant is deer resistant. I really want to plant some on sandy bank near pond in my back yard, but I fear the geese will ...
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars attacking mountain laurel in Marble Falls TX
August 27, 2009 - What are the caterpillars that eat up our mountain laurel? Nothing left but a few stems.
view the full question and answer

Worms on blackeyed susans and daisies in Tuckerton NJ
July 30, 2009 - I have black eyed susans and white daisies planted together. Not sure if this makes a difference. Today I noticed that there are tiny worms on both the plants they are almost the size of silk worms. ...
view the full question and answer

Cupressaceae dying in Suffolk Co.NY
October 20, 2012 - I have noticed that all of my Cupressaceae (& others I see in my area) are dying. They turn yellow, then rust & brown til they are everbrowns. what is going on?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.