Act now to snag snail damage

Snails are a significant pest problem in Australian vineyards, causing damage to vines and affecting production in several ways, including:

  • feeding on young shoots and leaves soon after budburst, causing reduced shoot growth, fruit yield and plant vigour in severe infestations.
  • clogging sprinkler heads and dripper lines, causing decreased irrigation efficiency and higher labour costs.
  • contamination of the grape harvest, leading to a reduction in grape quality delivered to wineries.

Snails are hermaphrodites and usually have an annual lifecycle. Individuals lay eggs in clutches and can lay around 400 eggs in one season. Egg-laying occurs in moist soil mainly during autumn and winter, but can extend into spring.

Director of lush logic, Dr Angela Lush, said baiting is recommended when the snails are active in autumn and early winter to reduce the number of snails before they begin to breed. This helps to keep snail numbers down and reduces the possibility of snail-related damage in the canopy and contaminated fruit later in the season.

‘Walk through the vineyard and monitor the presence of snail populations, which will help target bait applications’, Angela says.

‘If snails are still active and feeding at ground-level in spring, then baiting may be effective in preventing their movement into the vine canopy, but monitoring for activity before baiting is essential’, Angela said.

A range of snail control products are available in the marketplace. Talk with your local grower services representative to determine the most suitable product for your vineyard.

For more information, contact Adrian Loschiavo, GWRDC Program Manager, adrian@gwrdc.com.au

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