One way to mitigate the damage: Mow your lawn just before applying so there are no weed flower heads to attract the pollinators to your temporarily poisoned yard. Small holes in soft turf are possible signs of the opossum. But when the dust (and fiberglass) settles, you'll enjoy a fatter bank account and more comfortable indoor temps year-round. Like beneficial nematodes, this approach can take several years to eradicate your grub infestation. Increased animal activity is another sign. Here’s how we flooded our coastal Idea House with an abundance of natural light and fresh air. Diagnosing Holes in the Yard. One of the most easily spotted symptoms is an increase in bird activity on your lawn. “It’s irrelevant which species it is,” advised Shetlar. Other chafer species besides the masked chafer beetles (like the European chafer) also lead to white grub infestations and can establish in lawns beyond the state’s borders. These pests are a natural part of the ecosystem, so if you just have a few, there’s no need to worry. What about those common organic recommendations for killing lawn grubs online, such as milky spore disease or beneficial nematodes? The holes don’t have excavated dirt at the top, just like vole holes. Here’s a good test, from the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program: Pull up about 1 square foot of the earth around the base of your sod (where the stems meet the roots). Copyright © 2020 This Old House Ventures, LLC. They feed on roots, which can trigger drought-resembling dead patches. Tired of running out of hot water? Jan asks, “My lawn is full of holes. Milky spore. Preventive methods top Shetlar’s list for fighting grubs nonchemically. That’s the Japanese beetle and the masked chafer,” said Shetlar about his home turf. I am not sure how they know that grubs are present, but it may be that they can smell the grubs themselves or the fecal matter that they produce… yum. Lawn grubs are the wriggly, worm-like larvae of different types of beetles, like Japanese Beetles and June Bugs, that hatch in the spring and summer. “Even then, milky spore disease is a weak pathogen that results in 20% to 25% infection at best.”. The product will get absorbed by the soil and stay in the root system to eradicate grubs that hatch. Here are the guidelines. But what are the most effective options for sustainable-minded lawn owners? There are “two major white grub species that cause problems in Ohio. However, Shetlar did let on that the most experienced organic lawn care professionals may have the knack for using them effectively against white grubs. Deter gophers by digging a trench around your flower bed or vegetable garden and burying a wire mesh screen or hardware cloth in it. The majority of grub worms come from Japanese beetles, which lay their eggs in midsummer in sunny areas of the lawn. The most common (and, sadly, most effective) ways to kill grubs are chemical insecticides. Once grubs polish off a … Another tell-tale sign is small holes in your lawn where animals have been digging. At the same time, a shallow hole could be skunk holes in the lawn while an extensive tunnel system is indicative of moles. Getting a preventative treatment every year in August or September – especially in neighbourhoods known to have grub (and skunk and raccoon) problems – will not only keep your grass well rooted and hard to flip up, but will prevent a bumper crop of grubs from eating your roots and turning your lawn into a raccoon buffet. Damage from skunks and raccoons occurs at night. When to treat for grubs: The best time to treat your lawn for grubs is in the spring or fall when they are active and feeding. Sometimes the best way to get rid of lawn grubs is to keep them out of your soil in the first place. Sometimes there are holes dug in the lawn as birds, skunks, and other animals dig to get their “grub” on. Shetlar, however, recommended that lawn lovers should be even more vigilant, especially in order to prevent large critters from eating them. holes. The This Old House Reviews team recommends TruGreen, an industry leader with dedicated grub control. Moles are around all year long, but we are made aware of them mainly during the spring and fall, especially after periods of rain, when they push mounds of dirt up to the ground surface. Grub Control with Nematodes is certainly part of the fix. In your brown patch or patches, dig three sides of a square about 12-inches long into your lawn and peel back the sod. * Editorial Note: LawnStarter may receive a commission if you purchase certain products mentioned in this article. There are a few tips and tricks for keeping skunks and other animals out of your yard so you can go back to having a beautiful, green lawn, including: Eliminate food sources around your property. These are naturally occurring microscopic parasitic worms that invade grubs, releasing bacteria until they completely kill off the host. Opossums have delicate feet in which the nails easily come out, so they are not likely the ones making large, extensive holes. You can make your lawn inhospitable to grubs by not watering your lawn for three weeks to a month to dry out your soil. As for beneficial nematodes, Shetlar said, “There’s a very steep learning curve to using the insect parasitic nematodes.” They can only be effective when used curatively, and even then, only on small affected areas. The eggs need moisture to survive and hatch later on, and they will die without it. Short on time and just want to kill some grubs? The specialist will start by monitoring the lawn for adult beetle activity, then apply insect control just before the hatching season. Later, irregular brown patches appear in your turf. After the eggs hatch, the grubs evolve in three stages, with grub damage greatest in late summer, when you will see areas of your lawn thinning and yellowing. Simply sprinkle … But it can get worse: Large urban and suburban critters, such as skunks and raccoons, are apt to claw up your entire lawn looking for them, considering them hard-to-come-by delicacies. We must either tolerate them, battle them head-on, or strike a compromise with them — or, ideally, prevent their spread beforehand to reduce the risk of eventual over-infestation. Get inspired by the beautiful doors, floors, and wood accents that elevated this year’s pair of TOH Idea Houses. All rights reserved. Grubs in your lawn can make the ground feel spongy. A. Potter “has conclusively shown that the tall [fescue grasses] are much more tolerant of grub populations,” said Shetlar, who then added, “Where Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass will be damaged with … eight to 10 grubs per square foot, the tall fescues usually require somewhere around 12 to 14 grubs per square foot” before showing damage. This tactic may sound risky, but it will work. If you notice more than 6 grubs in this space, it’s a good time to consider preventive methods or treatments to reduce overpopulation. These pests are roughly an inch long, curl up into a C-shape when disturbed, burrow into your lawn, and feed on your grassroots. Earthworms are most active in spring and when soils are moist. His key to this: fertilizing one’s lawn with nitrogen only once per year, and doing it very strategically “and judiciously,” to quote Shetlar, “usually in late October, early November.”. Test to see if you notice a lot more holes in lawns could be caused by digging! 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