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GARDEN JOBS

Snail Safe

January 26, 1986|GEORGE HARMON SCOTT

Snail season is soon to start in earnest, so get ready. By the end of February brown garden snails will be climbing up daffodils and cymbidiums to nibble on the flowers. If you'd like to avoid using the many sprays and poisons available, you can gather the snails by hand soon after dark or early in the morning. Decollate or cannibal snails can also help keep the brown garden snail under control, since they devour their eggs and small snails. There are a couple of hitches, however. One, their efforts are not noticeable for about three years, which means you'll still be hard at work collecting brown garden snails for a while. Decollate snails are also attracted to poison snail baits. But because they do not climb as brown garden snails do (they stay on the ground eating garden litter unless there is a heavy rain), you can place the baits in tall pots. Decollate snails are available from J. Harold Mitchell Co., 305 Agostino Rd., San Gabriel 91776, (818) 287-1101, and from Decollate, P.O. Box 972, Lake Arrowhead 92352, (714) 337-2282.

Chrysanthemum cuttings can now be made from the plant's new shoots. Make cuttings three or four inches long. After removing the leaves from the lower halves of the cuttings, dip them in a rooting hormone and insert in a flat of clean sand (beach sand is probably too salty). Roots will appear within six weeks. Transfer cuttings to a four-inch pot with potting mix. When the pot is filled with roots move the plants to the garden, or three or four of them can be put together in a nine-inch pot. To make plants bushy, pinch back new growth. If you'd like large flowers, cut back the plants to a couple of inches at the end of July; then allow only three or four stems to a plant and remove side buds. Chrysanthemums need extra fertilizer; a good choice is liquid fish.

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