It’s that time of season again and grub season is in full swing. Those of you who elected not to receive a grub control last year may be going through a debate with yourself on how to approach the situation, even if you didn’t get attacked last summer. The first thing you’ll have to consider is these beetles are here to stay. European Chafers, Japanese Beetle and the May/June Beetle are firmly planted in our areas now and are migrating north. Knowing this is the first step. Secondly, they are flying insects when they are adults. That means that they move from the trees at night (Chafers) and directly to lawns when laying eggs. You’ll never know if they have laid eggs in your lawn until it’s too late. Since the grubs are soil bound insects, you won’t see them until they are matured enough to cause damage to your lawn. At that point, it’s probably too late to do anything about it. What I’m getting at here is forget about trying to control them after you have them. You’re outnumbered and it’s not worth the investment. Not to mention, there are no “curative” products you can get at the store. Make sure you are not mislead in thinking that is the case.
Seeding each year vs. treating your lawn each year
In order to make a good decision on this topic, you’ll have to weigh out the costs at either side of the spectrum. Lets start with a simple average in town sized lawn. In fact lets go a bit below that and say this lawn has 5000 square feet of turf. Lets assume that you get 1/4 infested with Grubs. 1250 SQ. FT. You’ll have to buy a bag of seed, which will cost you around $45 for only a 20lb bag of seed. Before you can seed, you should wait until the grubs pupate into beetles and fly out of the ground. That will be when soil temps get consistently around 70 degrees. Lets just say around June. At that point, it’s getting really late to start seeding but you can do it if you have the patience to babysit your lawn during the hot summer months. If you do this then you can expect to water your lawn at least once per day for the first 2.5 weeks until the grass gets established. That puts you into July and perhaps August. Now the heat is really turned up and mature grass plants are having a hard time to maintain moisture. You can expect your seedlings to die completely out if you aren’t there to water them to get their roots properly established. How is the labor sounding right about now? Lets move on and say you decided to seed in the fall time. This is a better choice as you have a longer “cool weather” growing period provided you start in the middle to end of September. Watering will be vital the first few weeks with any seedlings. This time of season especially, because you’ll be starting your seeding at the end of the dry season. Once you do get the grass established, you’ll already be at the point of backing off on your watering and by that time the temps. will have dropped and you’ve setup your seedlings for a good growth period before winter.
Great you’ve gotten your grass seeded and growing again. So you spend $45 on seed (you may have some left). You should have invested in a bit of starter fertilizer for the seed. $20 or so for a small bag. Did you apply the seed and fertilizer evenly? Is the grass growing in evenly or did it not germinate at all? What did you do wrong? If everything is growing well did you get a protective treatment for grubs done in the spring? If you didn’t you may be looking at another infestation in a few more weeks. So now we are at a conservative $65 to reseed those areas. This doesn’t account for all the raking and manual labor you had to put in to prepping the areas, seeding them and keeping them watered.
Ok, now you understand some of the complexities of dealing with grubs once you get them. There are more things to consider. Lets look at the situation from a customer who has their lawn treated each year. Lets assume that they have the exact same lawn area 5000 Square Feet. That is our minimum sized lawn. The cost for a preventative grub control treatment will cost that person $62.50. If you lost the entire lawn you can tipple those costs we went over above $65 + Labor. Now lets just think about how the lawn came in after you seeded it. It typically takes a few years for a lawn to thicken to it’s full potential if cared for correctly.
Your lawn is an asset to your property and you should treat it that way.
A properly maintained lawn can increase a home’s overall value by up to 15%!!! Knowing that and the amount of effort you have to put in to establishing a lawn or re-establishing a lawn for that matter is enough information for me. The best advice I can give you is to protect your lawn if you have noticed damage around the neighborhood that you live in. All areas in southern Maine up through Augusta, Waterville, Bangor, Brewer, Old Town, Orono, Hampden, Hermon, Carmel, Levant, Lincoln, Millinocket, Machias, Skowhegan and all points in between are prime areas for these guys and they are spreading. Keep your eyes open and if you notice grub damage you should stop gambling with your lawn. These beetles lay their in turf grass and turf grass only!!! Good luck.