Reviving Your Lawn After a Grub Invasion: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding the Grub Life Cycle: The Foundation of Grub Management

In Maine, our primary battle is against three types of beetles – the Japanese Beetle, June Beetle, and the European Chafer. Less common but still troublesome are the Oriental Beetle and the Asiatic garden beetle. These beetles lay their eggs in turfgrass, which provides a prime food source for their larvae, the grubs.

Their life cycle commences when the eggs, laid in July and August, hatch into tiny grubs. These grubs feast on the grass roots until the soil temperature drops to freezing. As frost descends, the grubs burrow deeper into the soil to hibernate. With spring, they re-emerge, initiating their feeding cycle on roots.

You’ll often spot birds, skunks, and raccoons digging at grub-infested lawns, especially in the spring when the grubs are more prominent and easier to hunt. The grubs’ feasting habits weaken the root systems, making the turf layer simple to dig up, exposing the grubs. The grubs then pupate and metamorphose into adult beetles. While Japanese beetles feast on bushes, shrubs, and trees before returning to lawns to lay eggs, European Chafers and the June bugs mate in trees and then lay eggs in lawns.

The crucial period to protect your lawn is between April and mid-June. The grass plants will absorb the treatment, and when the beetles lay their eggs, the resulting grubs will perish upon feeding on the roots. This strategy prevents damage in the fall and the following spring. It is essential to remember that prevention is key, and once grubs are detected, it is usually too late to mitigate the damage.

Reviving Your Lawn: A Step-by-Step Approach

After grasping the life cycle of the grubs, we can now focus on the revitalization process. If you detect grub infestation in spring, hold off on seeding until fall due to the difficulties associated with spring seeding.

Dealing with the Crabgrass Issue

Damaged or destroyed turf areas often become breeding grounds for crabgrass. Nature always ensures that something grows in empty spots, and crabgrass is a common choice. To facilitate lawn restoration, apply a crabgrass preventer early in the season. This step will save you time and effort by preventing you from dealing with the crabgrass come fall.

Timing Your Seeding

The best time to seed your lawn is in late August or early September, when temperatures remain high, allowing rapid germination. Use proper equipment to loosen only the top 1″ or 2″ of soil, then apply seeds and a starter fertilizer.

Hydration: The Key to Seeding Success

Watering is a critical, often neglected step in ensuring successful seeding. Unlike established turfgrass that requires deep, infrequent watering, germinating seedlings require 1-3 watering sessions per day for 15-20 minutes each for the first 2-3 weeks or until they grow to about 1″ in height.

Post-Germination Care

Make your first cut when your seedlings have grown to about 4″. Avoid removing more than a third of the leaf blade to prevent shocking your young lawn. Once you’ve made the first few cuts, it’s time to feed your lawn and prepare it for winter dormancy.

Patience: Your Secret Weapon in Lawn Recovery

Reviving your lawn is a process that requires patience and long-term planning. While it may look unsightly this year, you are setting the stage for a lush, green lawn in the future. We encourage you to see this as a recovery year and focus on managing the grub problem at hand.

Drawing on our 36 years of lawn and grub management experience, we’re confident that we can help you develop a lawn recovery plan that is both effective and budget-friendly. Contact us for expert guidance and a tailored solution if you’re ready to save money, time, and stress.


Reviving a lawn devastated by grubs involves understanding the grub life cycle, managing pests like crabgrass, and seeding at the right time. A flourishing lawn restoration process also requires proper watering and post-germination care. While requiring patience and a long-term vision, this process can lead to a lush, healthy lawn in the future. With expert guidance and a custom lawn recovery plan, you can save money and sanity while nurturing your lawn back to its prime.

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