During the wet season, snails commonly plague gardens and deprive the owners of those long awaited precious blooms.
Snails normally leave a trail of mucus as a sign that they were present in your garden, which means that you do not need to think long and hard about how or what has made holes on your plant leaves.
Mary Kamukama, a gardener, says snails have been a problem in her garden because they ravage the leaves, leaving the plants affected.
“They come out in the evening to feed on the plant leaves and ﬂowers. I gather the affected plants and put them together so that I can monitor them closely and then take necessary measures to help them grow well,” she says.
Kamukama notes that snails attack plants such as dodo and ﬂowers like dahlia. They equally like lilies, peace lilies and coleus.
Snails primarily feed at night, they make holes on leaves and mucus trails may be your only evidence that they were in the garden.
The rest of the evidence is the extent of damage caused on your plants.
They consume several times their own weight in plant material every day, traveling as far as 40 feet to feed.
They are voracious eaters. All they need is a day to clear that precious leaf.
Salt and beer
“At 7:00pm, I go out on a hunt for the snails because that is the time they come out to feed. I sprinkle salt and beer on them to kill them. The beer is often poured in small containers, especially around the ﬂowers to kill the snails,” Kamukama says.
Solomon Luyimbazi, a gardener, says succulent leafy plants which contain water in their leaves attract snails to your garden.
He adds that they also like herbaceous plants since they do not have woody stems, but possess soft stems and shoots, which are tasty for snails to devour.
Snails thrive in rainy seasons, because the environment is always moist and moderate, hence signalling prime time for them to come and do their damage.
Fight snails with pesticides
Luyimbazi says one can use pesticides to deal with snails.
He recommends the use of pesticides such as Dudu Cypher and Dudu Acelamectin, which does not only kill the snails, but also other insects.
Miriam Kazuela, a resident of Makindye, a Kampala suburb and also a plant lover, has another way of dealing with snails.
Kazuela crashes egg shells and sprinkles them around her plants in the garden in order to turn the snails away, since the tiny broken shell pieces will most likely cut through the snail’s body as it tries to move towards the plant.
Leonard Muzahura, another gardener, says to keep snails and their damage to plants at bay, gardeners need to avoid dampness in the gardens. Make sure the place is dry, not too wet or even bushy,” he says.
Muzahura adds that damp places act as a hiding spot for snails, making them ravage succulent plants in the garden.
However, the extent of their damage can be controlled by hand picking them.
He advises gardeners to wake up early in the morning between 6:00am and 6:30am to remove the snails from the garden.
Decorative snail shells
While some gardeners may catch and throw the snails away, Luyimbazi says one can use their shells to design the gardens.
“Snail shells can act as good mulch material that can be put underneath the court for ﬂowers as decorations in pots and ﬂower beds,” he says.
Luyimbazi adds that most people use stones around plants for decoration, but the use of snail shells is also a good designing element for decoration and also for ﬂower beds in the compound.
This shows that the presence of snails around your garden may not be as bad after all, since you can use their shells as decorations.