Dead patches of grass? Skunks, racoons digging up your lawn? See grubs in your garden?
Lawn grubs are the larval stage of June Bugs, Japanese Beetles, Euopean Chafer, Cranefly etc. These white, C-shaped grubs feast on organic matter in the soil, including grass roots.
Signs of Grub Problems
There are several easy-to-spot signs that you may have grubs in your lawn:
- Raccoons, skunks, armadillos, or birds are digging up your yard. These animals all love to dine
on large, mature grubs.
- You can pull back the dead patches on your lawn like pieces of loose carpet. This happens
because grubs eat the roots holding the turf firmly in place on the soil.
- Before the dead patches even appear, your lawn feels spongy when stepped on, as it it were freshly laid sod.
To check if you have a grub problem, peel back a square foot of green turf in each of several areas of your lawn. If you see 6 or more grubs in each area, it may be time for action.
Controlling Grubs in the Lawn
Beetles, like Japanese and chafer beetles, emerge in early summer, feed on plants in the garden, and lay their eggs in the soil in the lawn. Later in the summer, the grubs hatch and immediately begin to feed. They will continue to eat and grow until mid-fall, when they move deeper in the soil so they can survive through the winter. When the soil warms up again in the spring, the large, mature grubs move back into the upper soil levels, where they transform into adult beetles that emerge in early summer and start the whole process over again.
The key to controlling grubs is to kill them before they hatch and begin to cause damage to your lawn. In spring or early summer, apply Lawn Guardian Nematodes to your lawn. This is especially important if you’ve had problems with grubs in the past.
What are Nematodes?
Beneficial Nematodes are a naturally occurring microscopic worm found around the globe in soils. Nematodes hunt and feed on soil dwelling insects by entering their body, injecting them with lethal bacteria, and feeding from their insides. The toxin usually kills the host insect within a day or two. To complete the lifecycle, they also lay their offspring in the dead grub (or other pest). Nematodes hunt down and kill grubs and are 100% safe for people, pets, plants, and earthworms.
Keeping & Using Nematodes
Nematodes are super easy to use, require very little work and no sprays! You get a whopping 10 million nematodes in an individual package. That will cover an area between 2000-3000 square feet (based on a heavy or light application rate). Be sure to keep your nematodes in the fridge (but not frozen) and apply as soon as possible for best results. They are a living insect so the longer you wait the less effective they will be (they can die if you wait too long). Do not use nematodes at are past their expiration date. You can apply them using a watering can, sprayer and hose attachment or misting system. It’s a good idea to apply your nematodes during low light periods (morning or evening are best). It is very important that you mix and apply your nematodes quickly so they don’t ‘expire’ in the can. You want to insure the nematodes have a chance to get into the soil before the water is evaporated. If possible, you should water your lawn or apply after a light rain for best penetration. Avoid applying to over-saturated soil as nematodes will simply wash away and avoid applications when your soil temperature is below 10°C / 50°F
Using a hose end sprayer applicator will be applying nematodes very easy, just mix a concentration, fill your applicator and spray out nematodes until the jar is empty. Refill applicator until all your concentrated nematode solution has been applied. There are two periods when grubs can be targeted by nematodes, in the spring when soil temperatures are above 10°C (often early May to early June) and again in the fall before soil gets too cold (mid-late September to mid October). During those times the insects are in a life cycle where grubs are in the soil and can be targeted. The best time is in the fall when the grubs are smaller but the most common time is in the spring. Best practice is applying during both to get best coverage and protection!