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Garden Tips For The Garden State – Grubs

 

Flickr - Photo by uniteddiversity

It’s getting to be that time of year when you need to start thinking about grubs.  Although this is not the time of the year when they will do their underground lawn damage, it’s time to keep an eye out for signs that they are coming.

Grubs are the white, half-moon-shaped, larva of Japanese Beetles and many other beetle varieties. The life cycle of the beetle goes something like this… They come out of the soil in early summer, fly around and eat foliage, the females will lay their eggs in the lawn in mid to late summer, the eggs hatch quickly, and the grubs start eating the roots of your lawn.

If you do have grubs, your lawn will start getting brown patches of dead grass that will grow in size each day. The patches of brown dead grass will lift up like a cheap toupee, revealing those nasty little buggers. (pro tip – the soil temperature has to be around 60 degrees F to catch them in the act)

Here’s how I tackle the complex problem of grubs.

In June start watching for Japanese Beetles. Because THEIR larva will only feed in sod, (other beetles larva may choose to eat the roots of flowers in your beds instead).  If you start to see them in large numbers, then you may want to apply a season long grub control. There are fertilizers with grubs control mixed in or you can just grab the grub chemical in pelleted form by itself.  Make sure it says “Season Long” if you plan to put it down this time of year. This chemical will last in the soil through the fall and prevent any grubs from being born in your lawn.

If you don’t see any Japanese Beetles, then you might not need to apply anything. If they sneak by your eagle eye, and you end up with grubs in the late summer or early fall, then you can find a 24 hour grub control product which is designed to kill the grubs that are currently feeding in your lawn.

There are a few more options which don’t involve the use of chemicals.

As you probably know by now, I am a fan of the chemical-free methods.

I will never have a grub problem in my lawn because I have free range chickens which make quick work of any grub infestation.  I know this probably wont be a solution for very many people, but for those on the fence about keeping backyard chickens, you can add this to the list of reasons why you should keep them.

Milky Spore is another option. You could use Milky Spore in your lawn as an organic grub control.  Apply this to your lawn three years in a row and it will prevent grubs for a decade or two.  This is a lot of work, and you wont see results until the fourth year, but it’s well worth it if you are avoiding chemicals in your lawn, and have had grub problems in the past.

A few more things to keep in mind.

If you have moles or skunks around, you may have grubs as well. They feed on grubs and are a sign that you may have a problem.

Beetles prefer to lay their eggs in lawns that are watered.  You may avoid grubs all together by never watering your lawn in the summer.

Finally, never buy those Japanese Beetle traps. They only attract more beetles to your area and because beetles are territorial, they will stay and defiantly lay their eggs in your lawn.  It would be much more effective to give those traps as a gift to the neighbor a few houses down. You know the one with the noisy dogs.

Leave a comment or question below, or click here for more Garden Tips!

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