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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.

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

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Tuesday - May 31, 2011

From: Carson, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Pests
Title: Snails in the ice plants in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Ice plants and snails. Every morning when I go outside I see at least 20 or more snails. Is there a certain way that I should have planted them that would have prevented them from destroying my plant? Or is it automatic that they will come because these types of plants attract snails?

ANSWER:

It is true that snails like and eat the non-native ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis), an invasive species from South Africa.  Mr. Smarty Plants' first reaction is to let them eat them all up since they are invasive!   But, then you no doubt like your ice plants and the snails are probably eating more desirable plants as well.  You did nothing wrong in the way you planted them to cause the snails to like them—they just like them!   However, with a little effort, you can control the snails.  There are several methods that you can use in conjunction with each other to do the best job of controlling them.  You can hand pick them, catch them in simple traps baited with beer or with yeast and water, or create barriers around areas containing your plants.  A combination of methods will give you the best success.  Visit the University of California Integrated Pest Management page to learn about snails and the various ways to manage them.

 

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