If your grass pulls up easily during the summer months (June, July, and August) and turns brown, it may be infested with lawn grubs.
Why can they be so dangerous?
They eat the grassroots, leaving your beautiful lawn a brown mess. They also attract the biggest pests to your yard who come to eat them. Having a few lawn grubs isn’t problematic and might be healthy for your turf, however, too many grubs can certainly destroy your lawn.
So, what steps can you take to make sure they go away for good?
Grubs: What Are They?
Grubs are the larvae of beetles (usually Japanese beetles, June beetles or masked chafer beetles). If you see any of these beetles in your dead patches of grass in your lawn or in your trees, chances are you have got grubs.
How to make sure you have grubs?
- Grubs are shaped like the letter “C” and look pretty similar to caterpillars
- They are white with dark and hard heads
- Grubs have 6 legs (grouped under the head)
Grubs prefer moist lawns and can be found in areas with watered soil. Also, they can be found in sunny parts of the yard or near places where you have noticed Japanese beetles.
If you have brown, patchy areas in the lawn, lift them up and if the piece comes up easily, you will most likely notice grubs.
How to Identify Lawn Grubs Like a Pro
There are a few ways to identify lawn grubs:
- Increased bird activity: One of the most easily spotted signs is an increase in bird activity in your yard. Grubs make a delicious snack for birds and you will find them popping over to your lawn for lunch.
- Brownish-grey moths: If you see small and brownish grey moths fly around your yard they are probably looking for a healthy turf to leave their eggs on. These moths can be seen flying around above the grass, around dusk. They lay their eggs and in 2-5 days these eggs become larvae. They are the critters killing your lawn as they spend 18-24 days chewing through your turf before becoming pupae.
- Brown patches: As your beautiful lawn recovers from the winter breeze and spring sees your grass becoming greener (after spring fertilizing), you need to keep an eye out for brown patches. Lift some of the grass and if the grass rolls up like a carpet, it means it has no roots and lawn grubs are the main cause for this.
- Spongy lawn: Spongy lawn is also an indicator of grub activity.
How to Determine Whether You Have a Grub Problem?
The brown patches are the first sign that you have more than a few grubs. The question is how many is too many?
According to experts, just a few grubs aren’t a problem.
For example, if you have 0.5 grubs/square foot, it is not a problem. If you have 6-9 grubs/square foot, you might want to consider a lawn care company to treat your lawn.
This is especially important if raccoons are digging up the lawn to get the grubs. With 10 or more grubs per square foot, you must treat your lawn. So many grubs can cause damage to your turf if they haven’t already.
When to Apply Grub Treatments
Lawn grubs are bigger and no longer feeding during the spring months. Because of this, they are less prone to treatments. Spring rains can also wash away any treatments.
Midsummer to fall is the best period to treat grubs. They are immature, small, and most importantly closer to the surface.
Before the treatment, it is important to get rid of any dry patches and mow the grass.
Here are two simple grub control options to consider:
- Beer: Beer trap is a great lawn control option to consider. You can use an old plastic bowl (the ideal dimensions are 3 inches deep and 6 inches in diameter). Dig a small hold so the bowl fits perfectly to where the top lip of your container is. Add beer in the bowl.
- Birds: Birds are known for eating bugs and grubs are not an exception. Do everything you can to attract birds to your lawn. You can use bird baths, bird feeders, and nesting homes.
Natural vs Chemical Grub Control
There are two types of grub control:
Natural Grub Control
Milky spore is known as a natural bacterium and can be pretty effective control of lawn grubs, especially Japanese beetle grubs. However, it takes a few years for it to finally become established deep in the soil.
Also, it requires some grubs to live on, so make sure not to use it together with chemical grub controls. When combined with other types of grubs, the milky spore is not effective.
If you are looking for a way to stop lawn grubs, try nematodes.
Nematodes are microscopic worms that exist in your soil. Beneficial nematodes look for grubs and after finding them and entering their bodies, they immediately release bacteria which acts as a grub killer.
There are two types of insect parasitic nematodes – Heterorhabditis spp and Steinernema spp. The nematodes are added as a live product, so it is important to keep them alive. Check the shelf life and make certain that it hasn’t expired. These nematodes are excellent for treating all types of grubs in the soil.
Irrigation practices and weather are helpful for controlling and treating grubs. Grub populations are highest when soil conditions are moist. If you manage to withhold irrigation water during June, July, and August the grubs will not survive. This strategy works well for bluegrass lawns that are healthy, well-maintained, and recover quickly from summer dormancy.
Chemical Grub Control
When curative chemical grub control is applied at the right time (when grubs are feeding near the soil surface and are pretty small) you can quickly get rid of grubs and enjoy green and healthy lawn for the summer.
Chemicals that are labeled for curative control are halofenozide, carbaryl, and imidacloprid.
Grub populations vary from year to year and preventative chemical controls are justified. If your lawn has been invaded by grubs, a preventative application of insecticide in May or June may be required.
Halofenozide and imidacloprid provide preventative and extended grub control.
Water in chemical grub controls regularly to move the chemical deeper into the soil where they can act on the grubs and successfully destroy them.
Watering the lawn after application of chemical controls not only moves the product deeper into the thatch layer but it also stimulates the grubs to come upward in the soil and closer to the chemicals.
Products That Don’t Work on Lawn Grubs
There are products that are not effective when it comes to treating grubs. Don’t use products containing only gamma-cyhalothrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, deltamethrin, bifenthrin, permethrin or cyfluthrin for grub control.
Products containing these ingredients will not work for your grub problem because the ingredient binds with organic material meaning it will not move down to the soil where the grubs live.
These products work only for above-ground insects that live on the soil surface or grass leaves, but not for insects that live down in the turf’s roots.
There are a few products on the market that include a combination of the preventative ingredients and one of the insecticides that don’t work on lawn grubs (the insecticides listed above). The preventative ingredient will make it a great choice for grub control.
It is important to read the instructions and follow them carefully when applying any type of treatment. There are different products with different ingredients recommended for destroying lawn grubs or preventing them.
- Preventative Products: Preventative products will destroy grubs that are present at the time and those that may appear throughout the season. Some of the most popular preventative products are Dylox (fast active and is most effective in the early fall), Merit and Mach 2 (these products are usually used early in the season), and Milky Spore (it is environmentally safe and quite effective), Neem Oil (this is a botanical pesticide that confronts lawn grubs and beetles), and Nematodes (this is a soil-dwelling worm that infects and destroys grubs by releasing bacteria into the soil).
- Curative Products: Curative products are used when you want to destroy grubs for good.
How to Repair Grub Damaged Lawn
If grub damage as already happened, despite your efforts, a quick repair is absolutely necessary to prevent further complications. The best time to repair your grub-damaged lawn is early fall or spring.
There are a few ways to restore your lawn to its green look, including the following…
Remove Dead Grass
The first thing you can do is to remove dead grass by using a rake. For thick thatch, you can use a spade to scoop it off. Dispose of the dead grass.
Aerate Your Lawn
There are two options – you can aerate your lawn by yourself or you can hire a professional aeration service to do it for you.
There are hardware stores, as well as, garden centers that rent aerators. If you want to aerate your lawn by yourself, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Choose an aerator and walk it across the lawn like a mower. Make sure to cover the whole area with one pass.
Aerating keeps the turf healthier and allow control treatments to apply and absorb better. This significantly prevents the extent of insect damage and gives you growth in damaged areas.
Annual or semiannual aeration is highly recommended for all lawns.
If aerating seems a little bit complicated to you, you can always hire professional aeration and overseeding service.
Choose the Right Grass Seed
It is important to choose a grass seed that matches your lawn. One way to do this is by checking the package for the rate of seed/square foot.
It is also important to measure the damaged area. You can use the square footage to determine how much seed you need for each bare area.
Choose the right grass seed and broadcast it over each area. Cover the areas with a thin layer of straw so seeds can be protected from pests and the sun.
Irrigate the Lawn
The next step is irrigating the lawn to sprout the grass seed. This is also important for strengthening the existing grass.
Don’t forget to keep the soil moist for at least two weeks until the seed grows.
After that, reduce irrigation to your normal amount.
Apply Slow-Release Granular Fertilizer
The best way to apply a slow-release fertilizer is by using a drop spreader. You can apply the fertilizer before the scheduled watering.
The package has directions which you have to follow so you can determine the right amount to cover your lawn.
Add the fertilizer into the spreader and push the spreader over the lawn to cover the entire surface. Follow along the wheel lines the drop spreader makes to guarantee full coverage.
If needed, go across the lawn again, from a different angle.
Keep Your Lawn Watered
You should water your lawn three-four times a day to make sure the water stays on the surface.
Ideally, this should be done until the seeds have developed roots that are long enough to save their own water.
Once the grass has reached 2 inches, you can water it daily.
You can start mowing the new patch of grass once it reaches from 3 to 5 inches in height.
A healthy and properly maintained lawn can increase the overall value of your home up to 15%. Knowing that and the effort you have to invest in establishing a lawn for that reason is enough to motivate you to take care of your lawn.
The best advice we can give you is to protect your lawn if you have noticed anything strategy or any damage around the surrounding lawns. Keep your eyes open and if you notice lawn grubs you should take things seriously or ask a professional to take care of the problem instead.
Got Lawn Grubs – Hire a Professional Lawn Care Company
Successful lawn grub treatment is based on early identification, as well as, understanding of the life cycle of the insect.
Preventative grub control treatment is more effective and cheaper.
Grubs can devastate even the greenest and healthiest lawns by going deep into the soil and feeding on your grass’s roots. Preventative application is the best option to eliminate lawn grubs before they can cause damage, keeping the turf healthy and lush for all of your outdoor activities.
At Green Turf Care, our highly-experienced professionals have been working with grub control services providing incredible results.
Our experts will routinely inspect your lawn (turf and soil) to find any signs of potential insect, grub or pest infestation. If an infestation has already occurred, the expert will apply a customized grub control treatment that will be most effective in eliminating the infestation from your beautiful lawn.
Stop grubs from destroying your lawn and contact our lawn care professional company today to schedule an appointment.
Let’s maintain a happy and healthy landscape together!