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tom

Lawn / Turf grass issues

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Maybe someone can help.

I have been surfing the net this morning for information about conical shell garden snails. I have found a lot about a predator snail in the USA but these are clearly not them as the ones in my lawn are tiny.

Yesterday Perth had a cracking amount of rain.

I was outside yesterday afternoon and found that the entire lawn had small conical shelled snails all over it. What look like a marine snail straight from the beach and there are thousands of them. To give an idea of numbers I have taken a photo of one patch of lawn:

snailsm.jpg

You might not at first see them but they are everywhere look for these!

snailer.jpg

I guess they do not seem to be eating the lawn, considering the numbers I expected to awaken this morning with no lawn at all? You cannot crush the shells between your fingers so they are not like garden variety snails.

I am pretty close to the beach so maybe they are marine snails, but how would they survive in the lawn?

Anyway my concern is that there was some info on the Yates site where someone else from Perth asked in 2007 with what appears to be the same issue: "Is there a product for destroying small white shelled snails on my lawn." To which the Yates expert said; "sorry, no."

Say they do not eat the lawn I guess I could live with them but I then have to wait for the ground to really dry out, after rain, before I can mow the lawn because these things would wreak some serious havoc on my mower!

I would actually rather do nothing about them because I do not like using poisons. Prefer to find out that they are benificial in some way, but does anyone know?

Edit: and yes I know the lawn is in pretty poor shape. Just moved and trying to get on top of that also. After my last rental where mowing was included so I had no control on how shoddy the thing got decided to take control myself of this one. Then the snails moved in...

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Open a detention centre for processing in Nauru.

I am not even sure if they are exotic?

For all I know they are an Ausralian native snail which is protected, so detention might be unconstitutional? Maybe while I assess their claims for asylum I could lock them up in the shed.

Anyway the sun came out this afternoon for a few hours and 90% of them are gone :huh:

I then decided to hit the lawn with the mower to get rid of the remaining 10% and my fears of wrecking the blades were unfounded. The old scott bonner has left the lawn looking better than ever, indeed the softer ground after the rain has allowed the roller to flatten it out a little more than usual and the blades when finished are just as blunt as when I started. I suspect I now have it nearly under control. After the spring fertilisation, four months off, and regular mowing it should be looking more like the golf course behind it.

OK less green than it was to begin with but more kempt. Speaking of which another tip I learnt on the net when you are bringing back the height of long grass do it in small stages and wait a bit between do not just lash out and take all the green tops off.

backlawn.jpg

I am putting the above here as a reference shot of the status so far. I should have put an original shot up from a month back, though then again it looked good it was just out of control so many might think so far I have only made things worse (it is possible I have). Couch does have the advantage of growing dense rather than tall if you let it go out of control. It still ends up 50-60mm tall though so it is still a little rough for the kids to play on. Hopefully by the end of spring, i.e. 6 months away I have it up to the golfcourse standard.

Edit: The scott bonner is currently set at about 25mm, I plan on getting it back to about 18mm by summer so I hope all the thatch is gone by then. Hopefully that is what those snails are eating? You can see one thatchy area in the upper left 1/4 of the photo above. The layer of dead grass is so thick that when you mow over it you are taking all the growing tops off and left with just thatch.

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I am not even sure if they are exotic?

For all I know they are an Ausralian native snail which is protected, so detention might be unconstitutional? Maybe while I assess their claims for asylum I could lock them up in the shed.

Anyway the sun came out this afternoon for a few hours and 90% of them are gone :huh:

I then decided to hit the lawn with the mower to get rid of the remaining 10% and my fears of wrecking the blades were unfounded. The old scott bonner has left the lawn looking better than ever, indeed the softer ground after the rain has allowed the roller to flatten it out a little more than usual and the blades when finished are just as blunt as when I started. I suspect I now have it nearly under control. After the spring fertilisation, four months off, and regular mowing it should be looking more like the golf course behind it.

OK less green than it was to begin with but more kempt. Speaking of which another tip I learnt on the net when you are bringing back the height of long grass do it in small stages and wait a bit between do not just lash out and take all the green tops off.

backlawn.jpg

I am putting the above here as a reference shot of the status so far. I should have put an original shot up from a month back, though then again it looked good it was just out of control so many might think so far I have only made things worse (it is possible I have). Couch does have the advantage of growing dense rather than tall if you let it go out of control. It still ends up 50-60mm tall though so it is still a little rough for the kids to play on. Hopefully by the end of spring, i.e. 6 months away I have it up to the golfcourse standard.

Edit: The scott bonner is currently set at about 25mm, I plan on getting it back to about 18mm by summer so I hope all the thatch is gone by then. Hopefully that is what those snails are eating? You can see one thatchy area in the upper left 1/4 of the photo above. The layer of dead grass is so thick that when you mow over it you are taking all the growing tops off and left with just thatch.

Landline had a mollusc special today tom. Your conical snails sound like Cochlicella barbara Research was killed back when it stopped raining in SA in 2005. A fly was introduced from Italy I think but to little effect. The snails erupt from hibernation with Autumn rains. They destroy wheat (and wine grapes the little bastards) crops particularly those using no till methods. They hide in the foliage. A heavy roller helps (organic) as does the usual copper treatments for snails. There is some upcoming research which indicates that a nematode worm predator might help with the problem but a solution is probably years away.

All the same I would get ASIO to check each and every snails background just to be sure.

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Thanks sc.

That is definitely them now after some targeted googling I think regular mowing and allowing the ground to dry out a bit should thin out their numbers.

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Just in case the snails come back big time, I found a few suggestions from some websites:

- Hand picking them from your garden; best time is after sunset or after a storm. Put them in a soapy bucket so they do not get out and roam again. When complete, squish them.

- Electrocution: Slugs and snails do not have a static charge, so there is an electrochemical reaction between their slime and copper.

- Beer. In the evening put a jar in the ground where the top is level with the soil. Put in 5 cm of beer. The snails home in on the yeast. Beer destroys their mucus membrane and they can't get out of the jar. They drown. In the morning retrieve the jar and have beered-snails for breakfast. Move jar to a new spot, and repeat the process.

- Coffee causes heart rates to increase, and may give a snail a heart attack. Perhaps a similar method to the beer could be applied.

- Obtain some small snail-eating snakes and/or lizards to roam your lawn. Doesn't cane toads eat snails?

I do not have lawn, so I have not attempted any of the above methods. I have several little Malaysian trumpet snails in my fish tank. They look a little like your garden snails, but mine are aquatic. They cause not harm to the fish or plants, and eat some of the excess algae. I suck up a few with the gravel vac whilst cleaning, and that keeps their numbers down. Some fish owners use a product called "Snail Rid", which contains copper. Corydora catfish are scaleless and are known to be sensitive to chemicals. I will not risk their darling little lives with Snail Rid.

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do you use a cylinder mower Tom? They are very cool and achieve a great lawn. if the blades are not sharp take it in for a service, you will really notice the difference, or do it yourself if you know how.

The last place I lived at was with a horticulturalalist (AKA gardener) mate. We used the left over turf from jobs he did and within a year had a front garden that looked like a golf course. The lotions and potions required were anything but simple and sustainable though. So few of his clients wanted the service that if they did, they had to own their own mower. He inherited the cylinder mower and sharpened blades ourselves. The thing was a bitch to start, I highly recommend "start ya bastard" - works every time.

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Just in case the snails come back big time, I found a few suggestions from some websites:

- Hand picking them from your garden; best time is after sunset or after a storm. Put them in a soapy bucket so they do not get out and roam again. When complete, squish them.

- Electrocution: Slugs and snails do not have a static charge, so there is an electrochemical reaction between their slime and copper.

- Beer. In the evening put a jar in the ground where the top is level with the soil. Put in 5 cm of beer. The snails home in on the yeast. Beer destroys their mucus membrane and they can't get out of the jar. They drown. In the morning retrieve the jar and have beered-snails for breakfast. Move jar to a new spot, and repeat the process.

- Coffee causes heart rates to increase, and may give a snail a heart attack. Perhaps a similar method to the beer could be applied.

- Obtain some small snail-eating snakes and/or lizards to roam your lawn. Doesn't cane toads eat snails?

I do not have lawn, so I have not attempted any of the above methods. I have several little Malaysian trumpet snails in my fish tank. They look a little like your garden snails, but mine are aquatic. They cause not harm to the fish or plants, and eat some of the excess algae. I suck up a few with the gravel vac whilst cleaning, and that keeps their numbers down. Some fish owners use a product called "Snail Rid", which contains copper. Corydora catfish are scaleless and are known to be sensitive to chemicals. I will not risk their darling little lives with Snail Rid.

Yes I got some snails introduced into my fishtank with weed I bought at the pet store also. They were fantastic and meant I did not have to ever really do anything to the tank except feed the fish. I had a fairly large tank though with only a handfull of neons so very low density / low maintanance.

On the snail control they have all dissapeared and yet it still rains. Perhaps the mow did cause them all to find a new place to settle? Anyway for now (touch wood) they are gone.

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do you use a cylinder mower Tom? They are very cool and achieve a great lawn. if the blades are not sharp take it in for a service, you will really notice the difference, or do it yourself if you know how.

The last place I lived at was with a horticulturalalist (AKA gardener) mate. We used the left over turf from jobs he did and within a year had a front garden that looked like a golf course. The lotions and potions required were anything but simple and sustainable though. So few of his clients wanted the service that if they did, they had to own their own mower. He inherited the cylinder mower and sharpened blades ourselves. The thing was a bitch to start, I highly recommend "start ya bastard" - works every time.

Yes I do.

Agree that they are cool. I think if one was considering paying $1000.00 for a top of the line rotary mower far better to look at a second hand cylinder mower. If you were mechanically minded (I'm not...) you could even buy a broken one for $300 or so and go from there with new motor and blades.

Once you get the things started they get through the lawn so fast with such a wide cutting strip and the forward gear being at a fast walking pace, nearly a jog!

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