Although many people view snails and slugs as pests, they play an important part in our environment. There are many benefits of snails in the garden. Still, once they enter our garden, they frequently cause much trouble. Anyone who depends on cultivating their food is likely to have a snail infestation, especially if you grow plants that snails enjoy eating.
The fact that snails are good at recycling dead plant debris is one of their advantages in the garden. Microbes would take much longer to break down the dead plant material without the snails consuming it. In addition, snails are great for aerating the soil and eating bug eggs and other snails. When decomposed, they can be a useful supply of calcium for your plants.
People that adopt monoculture systems frequently suffer from snails, especially in hot, humid climates. On the other hand, snails won’t be as much of an issue if you use permaculture and diversify the cultivated plants. The most vulnerable group is seedlings, frequently preyed upon by slugs and cannot recover after losing their initial leaves.
While snails have many advantages in the garden, you shouldn’t encourage them to stay there because they tend to breed quickly and could eventually become a major issue.
This article goes hand in hand with my guide on what attracts slugs.
Top Six Benefits of Snails in the Garden
Snails Eat Decomposed Material
One of the biggest benefits of snails in the garden is that they eat decomposed materials. Snails are essentially the garden’s cleanup team. The decaying plant materials that snails enjoy eating will make for excellent fertilizer for the plants once it has been digested and passed through their excrement. The regeneration cycle in your garden would be disrupted if all the snails were removed. Dead plant materials would still decompose much more slowly than if the snails had eaten them.
Snails Aerate the Soil
Snails are good at aerating the soil, though slugs are much better at it. This is one underappreciated snail benefit in the garden. Snails and slugs frequently burrow underground to escape the heat before emerging after it has rained. They will create tiny chambers that allow air to pass while concealed beneath the surface. However, there are unquestionably more effective methods of aerating soil than using slugs.
Snails Eat Pests
A few species of slugs and snails prey on other species of slugs and snails. Snails are quite opportunistic, so if one of their close relatives is sick or dead, they won’t hesitate to devour them. The bad news is that it rarely occurs; snails prefer to consume seedlings or decomposing plant materials in times of abundance.
Since they won’t hesitate to devour the eggs of bugs or even other snails, snails can be great pest management. The bad news is that they frequently consume beneficial and hazardous bug eggs. The likelihood of additional pests disturbing you is generally extremely low if you have a significant snail infestation. Still, your garden will undoubtedly become more bug-filled as the snail population falls.
Snails Attract Their Predators
Snails are a favorite food of frogs, hedgehogs, snakes, and some birds, and the more snails there are in the garden, the sooner these predators appear. Suppose you have a significant snail infestation and only sometimes see one of these predators. In that case, your local environment is out of balance. This typically occurs if you use slug pellets that are also toxic to their predators, so be sure to use them that don’t hurt their predators and will eventually appear.
Snails Eat Weaker Plants
Although most people see this as a bad thing, the truth is that it depends on the type of plant. Snails and slugs frequently target stressed and relatively weak plants. Consider it natural selection. If your tomato plant is devoured by snails, the plant was stressed and didn’t produce as many tomatoes as a healthy plant. Although a hungry snail will also devour healthy plants, the likelihood that they will consume everything in your garden increases as the number of snails increases.
Snails CAN eat other plants in your garden (things you don’t want them to). If you want to get rid of them, I recommend using THIS!
Snails Produce Calcium
To grow, snails require a lot of calcium, which they obtain from the plants they consume or from the decaying plant waste. The good news is that after they pass away, the calcium will gradually be absorbed into the soil, feeding your plants. The majority of the calcium is found in the snail’s shell. However, snail shells degrade rather slowly, which is a concern. Snail shells will degrade much more quickly if you grind them into a fine powder and scatter it among your plants if you find any in your garden.
As you can see, there are many benefits of snails in the garden. However, these primarily depend on how troublesome the snails in your area are. Most of the time, you should be fine if you are not growing any plants they love to eat; however, the bad news is that leafy vegetables are one of their favorite foods if you grow a lot of them.
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