Spring Grub Damage! What should I do?

Spring and fall homeowners all over central and southern Maine are starting to realize that the Grubs are not going away.  Year after year they destroy acres of turfgrass in our state.  It’s important to know that you can be proactive about this lawn menace!

You first need to realize that if the damage is severe like in the video, you’ll definitely be looking at seeding.  In the springtime, grubs will feed until soil temperatures are consistently in the mid to high 70’s.  At that point, they’ll go down into the soil and form a cocoon.  About a week later, they’ll fly out of the ground like a beetle and begin mating.  If the grub in your soil is European Chaffer, then they’ll mate in the trees at night and after about a few weeks they’ll return to the turfgrass and lay eggs again.  Maybe they’ll lay eggs in your lawn or perhaps your neighbors.  You never know.  If the grubs in your soil are Japanese Beetle, they tend to stay a beetle much longer and feed on trees, shrubs & flowers. Then if you’d love to create your own wonderful floral displays then you can do a course in floristry which will give you some amazing floristry skills. They will lay their eggs a bit later on.  The important thing to note here is that if you have had damage in your lawn or seen damage in your neighbor’s lawns, you should be protecting your lawn with a preventative treatment.

As you watch the video, you can easily see the damaged area.  The lawn was literally roto-tilled from birds, skunks, raccoons, and other animals.  They are a good food source for them and we all tend to wonder if the crow population is growing larger because of all the abundant food for them now.  This is the easiest way to identify whether or not you have grubs.  The more difficult method would be tugging on the grass like was done in the video.  Simply grab the grass blades in your fist and pull up.  If it pulls up easily, there is a good chance you can find the grubs laying under the sod, as you saw in the video.

So, what can be done if I already have grubs?

Well… This is a decision you need to make for yourself. Years ago, there used to be products that we could use that would eliminate an infestation in your lawn with one single treatment if you had them.  Those products have long since been removed from the market to make way for safer products.  This has created a problem with residents who like to have a nice looking lawn.  About the same time, those products were taken off the market,  European Chaffer populations began migrating north to our neck of the woods.  Now the safest solution is to apply a preventative treatment around June – July.  Don’t be fooled by products you see at the hardware stores that claim immediate grub control.  That is not how the chemistry works.  YOU MUST APPLY IT BEFORE THEY LAY EGGS IN YOUR LAWN!  Also, it must be watered in.  If the plant tissue has gone dormant due to excessive drought, you must water enough to awaken the grass so it can pull this product in and pump it around with the chlorophyll production.  You cannot apply this late in the fall if you have grubs and expect it to work.  Once the grubs have grown in size, they will be almost unaffected by the treatment.  After they overwinter and come back to the soil surface to feed again and now they are even bigger!  You want your treatment plan timed just before they lay eggs.  That way as soon as the eggs hatch the lawn will be already protected.  The only effective treatment for Grubs is a preventative treatment.  We apply it at the right time of the season to protect your lawn.  It MUST be watered in.  After it is watered in the plant takes the product in and distributes it around the plant tissue.  When the beetles lay eggs in your lawn, they hatch and begin feeding briefly.  When they have ingested enough protected plant tissue, they will die.  This is how you protect your lawn.  There are other technologies that we are monitoring closely.  However, since we never know if the beetles will lay eggs in our lawn this year or next year the only effective way to protect your lawn is to prevent it in the first place.

After you understand the reasons why you have grubs and make a plan to protect against another infestation later in the season, you then need to move on to the seeding aspect. You can schedule our slice seeding service and we can do it for you.  However, that service is not free.  You’ll need to weigh out your options as it relates to seeding first.  Call our office and we can recommend solutions for you.  If you have an infestation that is below threshold (not enough per square foot to cause damage) then you may not have to do any seeding.  The other reason you may not have to do any seeding would be if the birds, skunks, and raccoons haven’t found your lawn in the first place and the grubs haven’t have eaten the roots to the point of killing your grass.  If that is the case, make sure you are fertilizing your lawn.  Your grass plants will need to recover from the damage and build new roots.  The only way this happens is with food!

Remember we are only a phone call away.  If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to schedule a visit and explain things to you.

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