Treating Grubs in the Lawn

White grub in soil

There are several reasons why brown spots start to develop in your yard. One of the most common problems found is the grub. These baby beetles can wreak havoc if there are many of them, so it is important that you start treating the grubs in your lawn once you determine the problem is severe enough.

Grubs are the larval stage of scarab beetles. The adults lay their eggs in the soil. The grubs grow under the surface of your soil and chomp away at the grass roots. If they are present, you will be able to peel away the grass as if it were a carpet. Grubs curled up into a C-shape will be visible. Count how many are present to determine the extent of the problem. As the PennState College of Agricultural Sciences mentions, you should treat for grubs in the lawn if you have 5-10 or more grubs per square foot.

If you are willing to let your grass go dormant for a bit in the middle of summer, this may kill the beetle eggs and stop the infestation. However, many people do not want to have an unattractive brown yard, so treatment is required. Pesticides like imidacloprid are applied in the later months of summer to kill off the larvae. Other treatments like predatory nematodes and milky spore may also be effective in controlling the grub population.

If you think that you may have problems with grubs in your lawn, give us a call. We can assess the situation and rule out any other problems. We can also apply the proper treatments to help banish those pesky grubs.

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Common Insects in the Lawn

White grubs can kill lawns

White grubs can kill lawns

Have you noticed dying or dead patches in your lawn? An insect may be the culprit behind this problem. While you are scouting for your IPM program, examine the clues and see if you have insects in your lawn.

 

Chinch Bugs

If you have yellow or reddish-brown patches of grass, chinch bugs may be to blame. As Texas A&M Agrilife Extension explains, you can test for them by removing the ends of a large tin can and push it down into the area that is affected. Once you fill the can with water, chinch bugs will float to the surface if they are present.

Grubs

Some garden pests like Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) start out as grubs (larvae) in the soil. They love to feast on grass roots, so it is no surprise that they can cause your lawn to die. One sign is that you have brown patches of grass that can be pulled up in a sheet. You may also try digging in the ground under these spots to see if you have C-shaped grubs present.

Nematodes

While many nematodes are an integral part of good soil health, some of these tiny roundworms like to feed on the roots of grasses, creating brown patches over time. This one may be a bit harder to diagnose and you may need to send a soil sample to a laboratory for analysis.

Red Imported Fire Ants

One dreaded denizen of lawns is the red imported fire ant. In addition to contending with the destruction of your grass when they build their mounds, you also face the potential of being the recipient of painful stings if you are unfortunate enough to cross their path.

Sod Webworms

If there seems to be a lot of moths hanging out by your problem spot, you may be facing the sod webworm. This larva likes to chomp on the leaves. It may not be too problematic at first if not many are present and there is only a little bit of foliage thinning, but as more come, brown patches may form.

If you need help in identifying the particular pest in your lawn, give us a call. This is an important step to make sure you use the right treatments and resolve the problem successfully.

Image by bobistraveling under a Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License

Giving Grubs the Snub

They’ll Destroy Your Lawn if You Let Them!

Ever laid eyes on a grub? If so, you know how ugly these pests are. Even uglier, though, is the damage they can do to your lawn.

Grubs are the unfortunate offspring of beetles, such as June beetles and Japanese beetles, and they hatch from eggs laid in the soil. After hatching, the grubs (or beetle larvae) start feeding on turf roots. As feeding continues and the root system is destroyed, the lawn looses its ability to take up water. If no action is taken, the lawn can be ruined.

An Unseen Threat
Grubs live and feed underground, so they aren’t readily visible. Even if your lawn appears healthy above ground, that doesn’t mean grubs aren’t feeding on the root system down below.

That’s why it’s a good idea to perform periodic “grub inspections.” Simply pull up a small section of sod to see if any grubs are visible (most have off-white bodies with brown heads, and they assume a “C” position when disturbed).  If you see more than six grubs per square foot, your lawn is in need of treatment.

Other signs pointing to a grub infestation include:

  • Turf that feels spongy as you walk across it
  • Dead turf that can be rolled up easily (like loose carpet)
  • Irregular brown patches throughout your lawn

Fighting Back Against Grubs
Systemic insecticides are a very effective mean of grub control. Turf roots absorb them, and the grubs are killed as they feed on the roots.  For best results, systemic insecticides should be applied before eggs hatch. This can help to stop grub damage from occurring in the first place. If grub damage does appear before treatment can be made, reseeding and extra watering may be necessary to repair the affected areas.

As with any lawn pests, it’s better to be proactive than reactive. Regular inspection for grubs and properly timed treatments will give your turf the protection it needs.