This weekend I was at the Golf Course and noticed something that I unfortunately see every fall. I saw the first signs of Grub activity. I noticed there was a patch of grass in the rough that had been torn up, almost like a root-tiller had gone through it. I knew right away what it was and closer inspection confirmed my suspicions. Raccoons and Skunks enjoyed a dinner of Grubs similar to the way humans like Shrimp, and they will often tear the grass up to get at them.
Grubs are the Larval form of Japanese Beetles, June Beetles and Chafers. They begin as eggs laid in turf by the aforementioned insects. They mature to a C-Shaped worm that looks a lot like a Shrimp with a similar whitish color. In the fall as they mature you may find them just beneath the sod where they feed on the roots of the turf and if not caught early enough can completely sever the roots. Symptoms of Grub damage usually start as discolored turf in patches of varying sizes and if left untreated can progress to the point where the turf can be rolled up just like carpet. In sufficient populations Grubs will severely damage a lawn, sometimes to the point where the lawn needs to be completely redone.
If you see areas of discolored turf, give a few spots the “Tug Test”. Simply grab a couple handfuls of grass and give it a tug. If there is grub damage the turf will come up very easily. If not and the roots are still strong, then something else is causing the discolored turf. Six to ten grubs per square foot is all that it takes to cause major damage.
If you do have grubs, your lawn needs an Application of Dylox Insecticide which is very fast acting and will kill the grubs and quickly stop the damage. As with most Insecticide, Dylox needs to be watered in sufficiently before it takes effect.
A grub infestation can get quite costly so what lawn maintenance practices can be done to prevent that? Fortunately, there is a product on the market called Iminochloprid, often referred to by it’s trade name, Merit. We use it preventatively in late Spring or Early Summer. Merit is an excellent way to prevent Grub problems and is very effective insurance against the damage that Grubs can do.