GARDENERS struggling with snails chomping through their prized plants should develop a strong throwing arm to tackle the problem, research suggests.

Removing snails at least 20 yards out of the garden is as beneficial as killing the molluscs, a new study says.

Gardeners employ a range of methods besides chemical pellets to tackle snails, including beer traps, egg shells and standing on them.

Loading article content

And a fifth admit to lobbing snails over the fence, although the research shows a "homing instinct" which means the pests frequently make their way back from next door.

However, they almost always failed to return from distances of 20 or more according to the study published in the journal Physica Scripta said.

The study found there was little advantage for gardeners in killing the snails they discovered in their flower beds, as they were part of a much larger, wider population.

Study co-author Professor David Dunstan, from Queen Mary University of London, said: "Gardeners should be setting out to minimise the damage done by snails, which our results showed could be quickly achieved by simply removing the snails over 20 metres away."

A recent poll by the Royal Horticultural Society showed that one in five gardeners in the UK have thrown snails into their neighbours' gardens.