En Español

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

Roses being attacked by spider mites
January 18, 2008 - My roses are being eaten alive by spider mites. I read that this area of Texas has a huge problem with these devils! I've tried everything to kill them to no avail! Can you help me? Gratefully yours,...
view the full question and answer

Problems with purple passion flower from DeKalb TX
March 27, 2011 - Yes my purple passion plant, is pretty but there is a piece of it that's all limp, what do I need to do to revive it?
view the full question and answer

Herbicide on Habiturf from Austin
May 31, 2014 - Can you recommend an herbicide that is safe to use on a Habiturf lawn? I followed the directions to put in a new Habiturf lawn about a month ago. The grass seedlings are doing well in places, but ...
view the full question and answer

Cotton plant for yard in Plano
July 27, 2008 - I wish to plant a specimen cotton plant in my yard - will it grow in Plano, Texas, do you have any tips for maintaining them, and will they survive freezing temperatures?
view the full question and answer

Plants to repel mosquitoes from Leander TX
May 19, 2013 - What are the best plant for repelling mosquitoes in the Leander area? The land here is hilly and rocky.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center