Managing snails in citrus orchards

Page last updated: Monday, 9 March 2020 - 12:13pm

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Snails cause damage to citrus orchards by feeding on fruit and leaves. Snail management is a multi-step process that involves both cultural and chemical control.

Snail damage

Snails cause damage in citrus orchards by feeding on ripe and ripening fruit, leaves of young trees and young tree bark. Fruit damage appears as circular chewed areas in the rind (Figure 1). The brown garden snail (Cornu aspersum) is the most common species of snail causing damage in citrus orchards in the south west of WA (Figure 2). Other snails that might cause problems for citrus include the White Italian snail (Theba pisana), Vineyard or common white snail (Cernuella virgata) and small conical snails (Prietocella barbara).

Figure 1. Snail damage on a mandarin
Figure 1 Snail damage on a mandarin

Damaged leaves have large chewed areas along the margins. Snails can cause severe problems in citrus orchards, where no-till weed control and sprinkler and low-volume irrigation create an ideal environment for snail development. They can also cause issues with irrigation management by clogging sprinkler heads and irrigation systems.

Brown garden snails on a citrus leaf
Figure 2 Brown garden snails on a citrus leaf

Contact information

Rachelle Johnstone
+61 (0)8 9780 6158


Rachelle Johnstone