Our lawns seem to always have some sort of external circumstance that could cause them problems. Drought, disease, weeds, or perhaps the most feared; the white grub. I remember as a child “rolling” up my parents lawn to find worms to go fishing. Although they weren’t overwhelmingly happy, it did bring to their attention that they might have a grub issue. Here are some ideas about grubs in your lawn.
The term white grub is often used to identify a few different species of insects. Although the insects are different, they often have similar affects. Contrary to popular believe the grubs don’t actually “eat” your lawn. They are more concerned about the soil and other components for their food source. The problem is that after the grubs hatch (late July-Early August) they need to eat. In the process they happen to chew right through the root system of your lawn. No roots= no water uptake, which will cause damage to your yard. This also explains why it is easy to pull up a grub damaged yard. Grubs are also a favorite food of skunks and raccoons, and often times these animals can cause more damage than the grub itself.
- There are two main ways to go about protecting your lawn from grubs. Plant resistant grasses: Kentucky bluegrass and (some) perennial rye grasses are favorites of the grubs. Tall fescues, or other “endophytic” plants, will deter the grubs from naturally occurring compounds. Tall fescue lawns often see little to no damage from grubs.
- Using specialized grub treatments: If your lawn has been susceptible to grubs in the past, it is possible that you may want to go down this route. Your lawn care provider can help you with this. Often times, fertilizers blended with insecticides can be applied about this time of the year. These products need to be watered in to make their way into the soil.
Grub damage will begin to reveal itself in the next few weeks. Like we’ve talked about before, you see your lawn more than anybody else. Monitor your lawn for areas of concern, and notify your lawn care professional. Also consider seeding your lawn this fall with some endophytic grasses to reduce the temptation for next year’s grubs!
Free Lawn Insect Guide
Grubs aren't the only creepy-crawlies that could destroy your lawn. Learn about all the insects that could be destroying your lawn, and how to prevent or get rid of them!
Author: Andrew Muntz received his Master’s of Science in Turfgrass science and his Bachelors of Science in Landscape Horticulture at The Ohio State University, Columbus OH.