You may have invested time in laying grass in your garden. Or, you are hoping to enjoy the grass that is there. One of the most frustrating things that can happen to you when you’re trying to keep your lawn under control and looking beautiful is to watch as brown patches start to appear around your yard with no obvious reason why.
Many times, the reason is that you have an infestation of lawn grubs. These grubs are newborn beetles; in late summer the beetle eggs begin to hatch, and that leads to thousands of extremely hungry grubs burrowing around underneath your lawn, eating everything in sight.
When left unchecked, you could have anywhere from five to ten lawn grubs per square foot underneath your lawn, munching away. The longer they’re left untreated, the worse the problem will be, and the harder it will be to eliminate them entirely.
The first step is to determine if you do, in fact, have a grub problem in your lawn.
How to Tell
Luckily, the first sign that you may have a problem with grubs is easy to detect. As the grubs feast, they kill the grass above them, leaving brown, dead patches around your lawn. If they’re actively eating, they’ll also create a soft spot. If you have these symptoms, try to dig down; in many cases, the grass will peel away like a carpet because the dead grass has been severed from its roots by the grubs.
If you do this and find grubs, it’s time to get to work.
Eliminate the Grub Invasion
As with most lawn problems, there are two directions you can go to eradicate lawn grubs. The first method is the one most people think of, which is to use a chemical insecticide to treat the area. However, there are some things to consider when using this approach, including the impact on the environment.
You also need to consider the time of year that you’re trying to deal with the problem. While some insecticides are designed to be effective in late summer when the grubs are hatching, others are meant to be used in the fall. It’s much easier to eliminate the problem when you deal with it while the grubs are young; once they reach maturity, their feeding slows, making it more difficult for the poison work.
Some chemical insecticides can have lasting effects. Luckily, there are other, more natural methods you can use to kill lawn grubs.
Some grub remedies can be created using items in your kitchen or pantry. Of course, even these items can affect your lawn and other plants, so make sure you’re only using them on the areas that need treatment.
Lawn grubs are usually the larva form of Japanese beetles, and that gives us a clue about how to deal with them. Like vampires, beetles don’t like garlic. Chop two cloves of garlic and mix it with a tablespoon of mineral oil, then let the mixture spend a few hours in the freezer. Use a quart of warm water to thin the mixture, and add a tablespoon of liquid dish soap to the mix. This solution should be sprayed onto the areas where grubs are ravaging your lawn as soon as possible after the final mixing of ingredients.
This creation does two things; the dish soap and mineral oil help kill the grubs themselves, and the garlic prevents adult beetles from laying their eggs in the ground, which helps reign in the problem in the future.
Another widely-used remedy for grubs is to introduce nematodes into the soil. These parasites will attack the grubs’ bodies, ultimately killing them. The problem with this method is in the word “ultimately,” as this is not a quick solution. Nematodes can take anywhere from one to three years to grow enough to wipe out the grubs.
Milky spore is another long-term solution. While it has no effect on your lawn, milky spore will make the soil completely uninhabitable for grubs. Again, it will take several years before it’s effective in wiping out a grub infestation, but it’s all natural and works well.
There are many different options available to fight off a grub infestation. Your choice will be based on how quickly you want to eliminate them and how mindful you are of the environmental effects your solution will have.