Grubs are as destructive as they are disgusting. And if you’ve taken great care of your lawn care over the winter and spring to prepare it for its summer showcase, these little slimy white pests can completely ruin the unveiling. Patch by patch, grubs will take a bite out of your grass, and the damage can last several seasons.
Proper grub control starts with an understanding of what exactly these little buggers are and where they come from so you can figure out how to control their presence and make your lawn lovable again. It’s not always a matter of grabbing the first pesticide you find and spraying away - that can damage your grass even more.
Let’s start with a quick lesson on grubs. We promise to make it as not gross as possible.
What are white grubs?
White grubs are small, c-shaped larvae of various types of beetles like Japanese beetles or June bugs. After hatching in the fall and staying underground over the winter, grubs emerge in the spring and start snacking on their favorite food - the roots of your grass. Over the next few months, the larvae begin to mature into beetles, crawling above the soil to eat your freshly-bloomed garden plants and flowers. They then lay their eggs in the soil and the process begins all over again.
The extent of the damage these bugs can inflict on your turf depends on how many of them you have in your soil. You may only notice a small dead patch or two, or your grass may become so damaged that you can roll it back like a carpet.
What are the telltale signs of a grubby lawn?
An otherwise beautifully lush green lawn with an obvious brown patch is a big red flag. Those patches are leftover from the previous fall, when the emerging grubs ate all the roots.
Your lawn may also start to feel spongy and weak. Well-irrigated summer lawns should feel strong and supportive, so any sign of mushiness could point to a pest problem.
Where grubs are, other critters are likely to follow. So be on the lookout for skunks, raccoons and birds pecking at your grass trying to get to larvae for their own dinners.
How do I check for grubs?
If you suspect an infestation in the late summer, dig a square foot hole about 2 inches deep in your soil. If they’re there, you’ll know ‘em when you see ‘em.
Keep in mind, though: a few grubs are okay! If you can count the number of grubs in your soil sample on two hands, then you’re probably alright, unless you notice an increase in other critters. Any more than ten, though, and it’s time to spring into action.
So I’ve got grubs. What can I do?
Early detection is the best way to keep these and many other pests in check. If you don’t have grubs, keep an eye on your neighbor’s lawn. If you see patches over there, it’s only a matter of time before beetles make their way to your side of the fence. Here are some other ways your lawn care services can help you prevent and repair future damage from grubs.
Insect control products. The right insect control products, when used correctly in the mid-to-late summer months, can be extremely effective in controlling young grubs and preventing future infestations.
Irrigation. Proper irrigation can flood them out of the turf, so to speak, allowing for easier grub control.
Drought. At the same time, a little assist from Mother Nature in the form of dryness will restrict grub access to moist turf where they do most of their breeding.
Fertilization. A nutrient-rich, well-fertilized lawn is strong enough to counteract grub feeding and help prevent invasive pests from eating your grass.
Regular maintenance. It's important to keep up with regular maintenance of your lawn in order to prevent grubs from taking over your turf.
Seek lawn care advice from the right people to help you control and prevent infestations as well as maintain the health of your lawn. TruGreen® has PhD-certified specialists who will gladly help you choose the very best treatment and lawn care plan to suit your needs. Give TruGreen a call today at 866.688.6722 or visit TruGreen.com for more information.