Watering plants: The BEST time to water plants and avoid snails

Monty Don on gardening when 'life gets overwhelming'

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Spring weather will see gardeners start to reap the benefits of their hard work. Seasoned planters will have already sowed their seeds, and flowers, fruit and vegetables should now start to poke their heads out of the soil. But as they do so, legions of insects will follow to poke holes in their dedicated handiwork.

When to water plants and avoid snails

Ants, flies, mosquitoes and more will start to show their faces around now, putting a dampener on even the most beautiful of days.

Few will be more troublesome for gardeners than slugs and snails, which will take the warmer weather as an opportunity to ravage some plants.

Both bugs favour humid weather – over 65 percent precisely – to venture outside for a meal or two.

The humid conditions allow them to produce the slime they use for travel.

Slime trails rely on sufficient moisture, or snails and slugs find it harder to travel.

Humidity is highest during the night, and snails will thrive if they also have moisture spread by gardeners watering their plants.

As such, they should water plants in the morning when humidity tends to dwindle.

Gardeners should also consider how they water their plants.

Snails and slugs’ general reliance on water means they will choose to climb moisture-rich plants.

Watering over the top will paint plants as targets for the pests.

Keeping watering cans directed at the soil should keep their attention focussed elsewhere.

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How to keep snails out of a garden

Of course, some people will find slugs and snails get to their plants anyway.

In this case, experts have discovered several effective ways to keep them out of the garden.

And the natural methods also keep plants healthy and chemical-free.

Potential methods include the following:

  • Remove them by hand
  • Attract birds
  • Sprinkle eggshell shards around
  • Sprinkle coffee grounds
  • Set up citrus traps
  • Plant “sacrificial” plants
  • Add gravel, wood chips or bark to garden beds

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