Do you have irregularly shaped brown patches in your lawn? Are you seeing quite a few birds finding a snack in your grass? Does the ground feel spongy? These can all be signs of underground culprits many people deal with every year – Grubs. Although it’s most effective to treat lawns in the early fall, when beetles are laying new eggs, there are things you may want to consider doing year round.
So first of all, do you even have Grubs? The signs we mentioned before can be from Grubs, but they can also be from environmental factors, pets, seeding trees and much more. To find out if you have grubs, cut and pull back a 2-inch-deep section of your grass near the brown patches. If it pulls up easily and rolls like carpet, that’s a sign you have an issue. Grubs eat grass roots, so if the grass is loose, Grubs could be to blame. Once you’ve pulled back the top level of the lawn, look for Grubs. They are typically small, white and C-shaped once disturbed. If you have a healthy, well-watered lawn, and you only see one or two in a square foot, you might not need to treat the lawn at all. But if you’re looking at more than five Grubs per square foot or your lawn isn’t the healthiest, it might be time to take action.
So what do you do? Treating for Grubs is a year-round battle – kill dormant Grubs in the winter, kill young Grubs in the spring, protect your landscaping from the beetles in the summer and killing the newly laid Grub eggs in the early fall. Your local TruBlue can help you treat your lawn for Grubs and care for your lawn for you, but if you’re looking to tackle this issue yourself. Here’s what’s happening under the grass and what you can do:
Spring: In the spring, dormant Grubs are starting to wake up and, although they’ve already eaten and done the damage to your lawn, moles, raccoons, birds and other animals might be digging up your yard for snack. There are multiple brands of year-round Grub killer, but the damage to your grass is basically done, so not treating will mostly result in more beetles and, depending on your location and the species, they may not be interested in your landscaping plants.
Summer: In the summer, the Grubs emerge as beetles. While some beetles feast on landscaping plants and flowers, many are more interested in compost. It will be more helpful to treat your flowers and landscape to keep harmful beetles away than it will be to touch your lawn. It’s great to know what kind of beetle you have so you can treat (or not treat) properly, but many species look the same, so that can be challenging.
Fall: Fall is the best time to treat for Grubs. The beetles that hatched in the summer have eaten, mated and laid their eggs, so applying a Grub killer in the fall will help kill those eggs. If left untreated, those eggs will hatch and the new Grubs will feast on grass roots and other nutrients in the soil before going dormant in the winter, which is what leads to brown patches and other lawn issues in the spring.
If you are going to treat with any pesticide or insecticide, check the label of the product you are using. Most products are season specific and many products require watering the grass afterwards. Also, some are not safe for pets and children, especially before the grass dries. Be sure to adhere to any warnings and instructions on the product you’ve decided to use.