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Snails will eat almost any plant, but they are especially fond of the tender foliage of young plants and leafy crops such as lettuce. Their presence is indicated by missing seedlings or large, irregularly shaped holes on leaves or fruits. They may also leave shiny slime trails across leaf surfaces. In general, snails dislike plants with leaves that are glossy, waxy, or hairy. They also seem to avoid plants with strong-smelling foliage, such as rosemary, marigolds, and lavender.
Snails are pests of moist, temperate climates, and their hard calcium shell provides protection. Like slugs, snails overwinter in the soil and emerge in spring to lay hundreds of eggs near the soil surface. Young snails begin feeding immediately; they are most active at night and in wet weather. Populations fluctuate depending on the weather. Snails are found throughout North America.
Last updated: 1/28/18
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