Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Can I Have a Hallelujah, Please!

All right, so snails don't constitute a religious outcry, but almost. 
The snails you see on the right are brown, garden snails.  They are munching and breeding machines.  They love dark, damp places.  Under my beloved Hostas it is both dark and damp.  They wander from their hiding places every night and eat any green thing they happen upon.  They, along with their cousins, the slugs, are my gardening nemesis. There's not enough beer at a frat party to kill off the multitude that live in my garden.  I have used Sluggo in the past, but then found a dead toad and quit using it.  I know toads eat slugs and snails too.  I feared I'd killed him secondhand.  

I spent the better part of one morning visiting with Uncle Google a year ago; trying to find a way to kill off the little slimeballs.  I came across a website devoted only to predatory animals/bugs that eat the 'bad bugs' in the garden.  Yes, ducks love snails and slugs, but Lee wasn't buying it.  Besides, we'd be trading in one slimy thing for another kind of slimy stuff altogether--duck poo. 
Another critter was called a Decollate Snail.  Huh?! Snails eating snails? I Googled Decollate snail and sure enough, it's true.  They eat snails, slugs and both their eggs.  Winter came and I put off buying some.  I was doing yard work at church the following spring and found Decollate snails! I rounded up all I could find (a dozen or so) and brought them home to my garden.  Last summer we had so much rain we didn't know what to do, but the brown garden snails did--make baby snails.  I searched for signs of my predatory snails, but all I found were empty shells.  Back to square one. 

Winter and spring came and went.  Here we are in the middle of a very dry summer, but it's still dark and damp under my hostas.  The strange thing is, I haven't been fighting the brown snails.  I chalked it up to the overall dryness of the garden.  Today, it was time to cut down all the hostas for the season.  Their flowers were spent and they had suffered enough in our heat.  As James and I were cutting, I found Decollate snails everywhere! Big ones, medium ones, and teeny-tiny ones.  I don't know how it happened, but it did. They were there all along, when I thought they were dead.  Score one for me and the toads! Hallelujah! 


  1. You cut your hostas back ALREADY!!!

    Don't you love finding out you did something right. Great job on knowledge bank gathering for the snails.

  2. Yup, the hostas are down. They pop up in early March and are tired and done by late August. This year the heat has been especially brutal, despite the shade where they live.

  3. Ok, I'm game: Hallelujah!

    Yay for the Decollate Snails :)

  4. I haven't heard of Decollate snails before. I am going to try and get some. We have slugs galore...nasty things.

  5. Here's a link to help you get started in getting some decollate snails.

  6. Very cool.

    I swear I learn something new from every post of yours...