Lawn grubs (white grubs) are immature, C-shaped scarab beetles. While less than an inch in length, they can contribute to brown spots and other issues with your lawn. This happens because they feed on the roots of grass and organic matter in the underlying soil. You may then see patches of unsightly dead lawn. Here’s what you need to know about lawn grubs and how to control them with proper lawn care.
How to Tell If You Have a Grub Problem
Lawn grubs emerge as adults in the early summer and lay their eggs. The newly hatched grubs feed on the soil and grass roots until mid-autumn. They’ll then bury themselves deeper for the winter months and merge from the soil when things warm up. They mature and lay eggs as the cycle continues. The first step with managing this problem is to know how to tell if you might have a grub issue. Telltale signs include:
• Certain areas of your lawn are spongy even before brown patches appear
• Dead patches on your lawn can easily be pulled back
• You notice armadillos, birds, raccoons, and similar animals digging in your yard – they love to snack on lawn grubs!
• Brown patches that normally appear in the late fall and winter fail to turn green again in the spring
Another way to check for grubs is to peel back about a square foot of turf in your lawn. If you notice half a dozen or more grubs, you’ve got a problem.
What You Can Do to Control Lawn Grubs
Properly applying pesticides to your lawn can kill and prevent lawn grubs for several months. However, the key to successful control with pesticide applications is timing. Immature grubs are more likely to be susceptible to products of this nature when they are young. Therefore, the best time to apply pesticides is when young grubs are feeding, which is in mid-to late summer and early autumn.
Pesticide treatments can be either curative or preventative. Curative products are designed to kill grubs on contact. Preventative products, however, are designed to tackle grubs present at the time of treatment as well as ones that hatch later. Since preventative pesticides contain nitrogen fertilizer, you’ll want to be diligent about watering. This will prevent your lawn from being damaged due to the summer heat.
Additional Prevention and Lawn Maintenance Tips
There are some other proactive steps you can take to prevent grubs, or at least keep the problem under control. For starters, water your lawn after you apply your preferred pesticide product. What this does is move the pesticides further downward in your soil. You’ll also be encouraging grubs in search of moisture to move upward. Some other tips to consider include:
• Applying preventative products so you’re not simply reacting to an existing grub problem
• Using a spreader to evenly apply lawn products
• Making sure your lawn is properly watered in drought conditions since a dry lawn will show signs of damage sooner than one that is well-maintained and able to handle the added stress from lawn grubs
• Looking at neighboring lawns – if nearby lawns show signs of grub problems, yours could be next!
With proper lawn management, lawn grubs can be controlled. If you already have dead patches on your lawn, make sure the grub problem is fully addressed before you apply new seed to the affected areas, otherwise you may have the same exact issue once new eggs hatch. Also, regularly look for signs of potential issues with your lawn. Doing so makes it easier to take action sooner rather than later. Lawn professionals can provide further advice and assistance.