Fact check: what really helps against snails in the garden?

Snails – hardly any garden owner has no problem with them. There are numerous tips and advice on how to control, deter and drive the animals away. But what really helps?

overview
  • Does a beer trap help?
  • Throwing snails over the fence – what good?
  • Can Coffee End the Plague?
  • What are protective strips around the bed?
  • Are snail fences better?
  • Can plants drive snails away?
  • What is snail manure?
  • Can I easily collect and prepare Roman snails?
  • Should I kill snails at all?
  • Do snails have enemies?
  • What can I do about a small snail problem without any effort?

Every garden has them, and whoever grows lettuce also sees the consequences: snails are a nuisance for many hobby gardeners. What does it do best to fight? Experts give answers and rate the most common tips.

Does a beer trap help?

The snails crawl in and drown. “We do not recommend beer traps because they are not only bad for the snails, but can also drown other animals in them,” explains Marja Rottleb, gardening expert from the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (Nabu). And the benefits are controversial: According to Rottleb, there is a suspicion that the smell of beer lures the snails into the garden.

Throwing snails over the fence – what good?

“Throwing the snails onto the neighboring field is not a bad method, but you should throw far as the snails can crawl back more than 20 meters,” explains Anne Staeves from the Federal Information Center for Agriculture (BLZ). Whether they do that depends on whether the neighboring field or garden offers the more attractive forage plants.

However, the expert advocates thinking of the farmer: “Even in arable crops, snails can cause considerable damage. It is better to collect the snails and release them further away in the wild. ” This is much more animal-friendly than throwing anyway, because the snails could be injured or even killed in the process.

There are a few good tips for collecting in your own garden:
The best time to find snails is late in the evening or very early in the morning after warm rain. Some plants also serve as attractants, marigolds, lettuce, cabbage and rhubarb leaves are good. Rottleb vom Nabu advises laying out wooden planks around the beds. “The snails gather underneath in the morning and can then be picked up and taken away. For example in a wood or in the bushes on the way to work. “

Can Coffee End the Plague?

Yes, according to the BLZ, coffee can kill or deter snails, depending on the concentration of the caffeine. But at the same time it can burn lettuce leaves. The costs are also not to be neglected: coffee is relatively expensive.

What are protective strips around the bed?

Strips of rock flour, sand, sawdust or barley chaff form a rough surface and they dehumidify the soil – both of which avoid snails. The strips thus become a barrier. But: if it rains, the effect is gone. So you have to renew it every time, and still check the bed for the animals. The method also takes up space: according to the experts, the strips are around 30 to 50 centimeters wide. Quicklime is also controversial in this context, as it corrodes the sole of the molluscs.

Are snail fences better?

The BLZ experts count the small barriers, which are bent outwards at the upper edge, to the most reliable, but also most expensive measures against snails. You should not stand too close to plants, otherwise they can become a climbing aid for the animals. What is easy to forget: Here, as with the protective strips, it is important to collect the animals from the inner zone after they have been set up.

Can plants drive snails away?

Harmless in the garden: The banded snail mainly eats algae and moss. (Source: Andrea Warnecke / dpa-tmn)Harmless in the garden: The banded snail mainly eats algae and moss. (Source: Andrea Warnecke / dpa-tmn)

For example, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, sage and thyme are said to have a deterrent effect. Rottleb vom Nabu recommends savory. Another tip is to plant plants that the snails particularly like – as distraction feeding in a separate corner of the garden away from the actual beds.

What is snail manure?

Collected snails are killed with a knife or a pouring of boiling water and made into a brew with fresh water. After stirring occasionally and waiting for ten days, this broth is poured out in individual places in the garden and is supposed to keep snails away. But plants should not be watered with it.

If you don’t want to kill snails to drive away their comrades, you can also spray the plants with extracts such as bracken, liverwort or compost; according to the BLZ, they are considered anti-snails. Apply all these agents again when it rains.

Can I easily collect and prepare Roman snails?

No, the species used for preparation – the common Roman snail (Helix pomatia) and the spotted Roman snail (Helix aspera) – are subject to nature conservation in Germany, explains the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. Specimens living in the wild must therefore not be caught, injured or killed. However, there may be different regulations in the federal states.

Should I kill snails at all?

Snail: The Roman snail helps in the fight against harmful snails, it eats animals of other species. (Source: Andrea Warnecke / dpa-tmn)Snail: The Roman snail helps in the fight against harmful snails, it eats animals of other species. (Source: Andrea Warnecke / dpa-tmn)

Conservationists say no, of course, but desperate gardeners still like to use deadly means. However, a few pointers may make the decision easier: Not every type of snail harms the garden, on the contrary.

The Roman snail (Helix pomatia), which is already under nature protection, is an ally in the fight against the unloved nudibranch, it eats their egg clutches and otherwise only dead plant material. And most shell snails are also harmless, according to the Federal Information Center for Agriculture (BZL), as they mainly live on dead plant material.

Do snails have enemies?

Hedgehogs, toads, shrews, sand lizards, blindworms and various birds grab the animals. Rottleb vom Nabu therefore says: “The most animal-friendly thing is to encourage beneficial organisms such as the hedgehog.” This is achieved in the garden by creating a heap of leaves that serves as a shelter. “The garden fence should of course be continuous so that the animals can get into the garden.”

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Rottleb adds: “Other beneficial insects such as ground beetles also fight snails.” You live in dark corners of the garden, in which some leaves or wood can stay. “Then at night they go hunting.”

What can I do about a small snail problem without any effort?

Water wisely. The nocturnal animals need moisture to move around well. Therefore it is better to water in the morning instead of in the evening and not over the entire area, but directly on the plants. Then snails will not find a damp path to the delicious green. Therefore it is better not to mulch the beds.