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how to identify and treat lawn grubs

Lawn grubs are a pest that affects most lawns from time-to-time, especially healthy ones. While this isn’t good news for those who have just installed some of Wild Horse Turf’s high-quality grass, it’s a treatable condition.

Here’s everything you need to know about lawn grubs (often called army worm) including how to spot them and most importantly, how to boot the critters to the curb.

What are lawn grubs and where do they come from?

We’re sure you won’t be pleased to learn there’s a few different varieties of lawn grubs, with the most common one being the Armyworm; it’s the larvae of the Armyworm moth. This is a grey powdery moth that loves to feed on grasslands and pastures. These are found in the thatch layer of your lawn or in the evenings on top of it having a munch, they’re a green/brown colour.

Another grub you might come across is the curl grub, you can spot this because it has a brown head and cream and grey body. They’ll curl up if they’re touched and are the larvae of beetles such as the African beetle. Sadly, they love chomping away on the underground stems of your lawn.

The least common grub in Australia, because it prefers cool season grasses, is the sod webworm. They’re the larvae of the Crambus moth, a silvery off-white critter that flies around a lawn dropping eggs on lawns in the early evening. The small brown/green caterpillars eat blades at night and hide in the base of your grass during the day.

Tip: Keep an eye on your neighbours’ lawns – if they have a grub problem, emerging beetles may migrate toward your grass.

How to test if you have lawn grubs

If you have grubs you will notice sections of your lawn starting to die. To check if you have grubs, lift a piece of brown turf and if it rolls up like carpet or it has no roots, we’re sad to say you probably have grubs.

Also, if you’ve got random and irregular-shaped dead patches in an area of lawn that you water evenly, check for grubs. Keep in mind that if you have a pet, it could be that they have chosen to continually urinate in this spot and that’s why it has gone brown. Another tell-tale sign for those with well-watered lawns is that your turf has become spongy, this can happen before excessive brown patches occur. 

You might also have heard of the hessian sack or tea towel test. To identify grubs lay a wet sack or towel on your lawn and overnight grubs will be attracted to the moisture which means in the morning you’ll find the critters attached. This is also one (time-consuming) way you can get rid of grubs.

Hint: An increased presence of birds, moths and wasps hanging around your lawn might also indicate a grub problem.

What can I do to get rid of them?

there are several types of treatments ranging from, granular and liquid chemical concentrates to ready mixed hose-on applicators. Always strictly follow instructions and keep away from waterways.

Keep in mind that grubs can be active during the entire growing season and it may take more than one application to eradicate the little blighters.

Fact: Because grubs love moisture, in drought conditions grub activity is usually slower, in fact it can even disrupt the hatching of eggs. 

How can I prevent lawn grubs?

Preferring the nicest lawn in the street, most grubs will avoid a struggling one, but this doesn’t mean you should stop caring for yours. Instead try to keep your home, shed, eaves and fences free of moth nests using a hose and broom, this can reduce moth activity and may help.

Also, keeping your lawns slighter higher might help and only water your lawn when it’s showing signs of heat stress and deterioration because grubs adore moist lawns. By watering less but more deeply, you will promote deep strong roots and help deter lawn grubs. You can also regularly aerate using a garden fork, this also helps to produce grub-hardy roots.

If you’re concerned some grubs might have taken up residence in your lawn or you’ve discovered them and want some advice, get in touch with Wild Horse Turf on 5496 9790. 

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