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Lawn & Garden Time

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Going after grubs in your lawn

Landscaping is a rewarding hobby for many homeowners. Men and women with green thumbs often take pride in their lush lawns and gardens, feeling a sense of accomplishment as their landscapes spend spring and summer returning to form and making yards more inviting spaces to spend relaxing summer nights.

But even the most well-maintained lawns are not immune to problems that can compromise all the hard work men and women put into their lawns. One such problem many homeowners encounter is a grub infestation. Grubs are a type of pest that can cause considerable damage to lawns, and while many homeowners have no doubt heard of grubs, they might want to learn more about these pesky pests so they know what to do should grubs ever appear in their yards.

What are grubs?

Grubs are insects that live in the soil, where they feed on grass and roots. Many grubs are the larva of Japanese beetles, and those beetles typically lay their eggs in sun-drenched areas of lawns in midsummer.

What are signs of grub damage?

Grubs not only damage lawns on their own, but they serve as food sources for local wildlife as well, attracting wildlife, which can do its own damage to lawns.

Lawns can turn brown for a variety of reasons, and grubs are just one of many potential culprits behind the browning of once-luscious landscapes. Grubs feed on roots, so homeowners who suspect their lawns have fallen victim to grub infestations can pull up the areas where grass has turned brown to see if there are any grubs, which look like worms.

Landscapes that have suddenly become popular among local wildlife that is digging up lawns may also be infested with grubs. Skunks and raccoons feed on grubs, and may dig up lawns where grubs are present.

Damage resulting from grub infestation is most visible from late summer to early fall.

Can grub damage be prevented?

Preventing grub infestation typically requires homeowners to keep watchful eyes on their lawns. Pay particular attention to areas that begin to brown, especially areas that are turning brown in spite of adequate watering. An early indicator of a grub infestation is small grubs around the roots of grass. In such instances, applying insecticide may be enough to prevent a small grub problem from spreading.

Insecticides also can be an effective preventative measure for homeowners looking to avoid grub infestations. Speak with a local landscaping professional for recommendations about which insecticide to apply and how best to apply it.

What can I do about grub damage?

Attempting to treat grubs in the spring may be ineffective, as grubs are large and no longer feeding in spring. So homeowners dealing with grub infestations should address the situation before they retire their green thumbs for the winter. Remove debris from grub infestations with a rake before watering the affected areas. Watering can help some damaged roots recover, but areas that have been especially damaged may need to be reseeded.

Grub infestations can be a nuisance to homeowners who put lots of time and effort into their lawns. But homeowners can take steps to treat such infestations and prevent them from returning the following summer.