Posts Tagged ‘grub damage’

Double trouble: the Japanese beetle

Published by mrgrass on July 25th, 2013 - in Lawn Pests, Bugs & Insects

The Japanese beetle posses a double threat, both as a ravenous adult beetle chewing on ornamental trees and flowers as well as its juvenile stage as a white grub damaging lawns.  Given the unpopular disposition of this outdoor pest, it may come as no surprise that many homeowners look to reduce its damage both above and below ground.  How can a regular citizen stop sand cherries, crab apples, and roses from being defoliated by this hungry pest?  If you listen at night, in the quiet you can almost hear the crunching as the adult Japanese beetle feasts on its favorite plants in your landscape.  I almost forgot about the lawn!  White Japanese beetle grubs enjoy chewing the roots off your lawn, especially in the spring and fall.  A grub population will sever grass roots turning grass brown and attracting skunks and crows that do even more damage.  The Japanese beetle is truly double trouble above and below ground to any home owner with a sunny lawn and some plantings.

Effective control measures target the grubs in the ground, reducing them while still small in size with a variety of treatment options from standard to organic in composition.  Controlling the larvae or young version of the beetle is not only the most effective means of reducing damage to your lawn and landscape, it is also the least expensive.  Treating the adult beetle is difficult because they are strong fliers and enjoy going out to eat.  Spraying your plants after the adults emerge with successive treatments will reduce population levels and damage to your foliage.  An added benefit of treating your lawn for Japanese beetle grubs is also controlling other pests who can also inflict harm, such as rose chafers.  Even the best looking lawn is no match from the younger form of the Japanese beetle and other white grubs.

Double trouble, the Japanese beetle.

Double trouble, the Japanese beetle.

A quick word on pheromone traps, the classic “bag a bug” solution.  These things work well, real well, so well in fact that they call in adults from miles around . . . all to your property.  Like a good BBQ, they will come, eat some shrubs, mate, lay eggs in your lawn, and then fall into the trap.  If you are determined to use one of these pheromone traps, at least put it in the woods or far away from your lawn and landscape as possible.  A better solution is to consider treating your lawn or doing a few spot sprays on susceptible plants as necessary to keep them healthy and with some leaves before fall arrives.

For more information on these services and more provided by Chippers, just call or shoot us an e-mail.    

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Grubs are eating your lawn right now!

Grub damage in a lawn

Grubs love a sunny lawn with warm soil

 

 

Grubs in your lawn right now and into the fall are likely hidden beneath brown grass.  While crows and skunks may alert you to this lawn problem, grubs are growing fat thanks to the hot, dry summer.  Grubs destroy the root system (or whatever it is they do!) so it is important to take action against this lawn pest. What is a home owner to do?

Take action this fall before winter arrives.  To reduce the grub population, your lawn can be sprayed several times with cedar oil for an organic approach or more traditional products can be applied. One hundred percent control should not be expected since the larger the grub, the harder they are to knock down.  Any reduction in the population will be helpful, especially if you have animals digging on a nightly basis.  The same method of grub reduction can be employed next spring for additional results.  I do not normally endorse wide spread use of preventative action toward insects in general, mostly because in a normal year insects are usually kept in balance. However, this dry, hot year is anything but normal, so added control measures are certainly prudent.  The best approach for lawns with a history of insect damage would be to consider a preventative treatment in 2013 which will provide the highest degree of satisfaction.

If your lawn has experienced severe damage, renovations are better done this fall including seeding, topdressing, liming, and fertilizing to help set the stage for 2013.  Failure to repair damage this fall means you miss out on warm soil, cool nights, and generally warm days; ideal grass growing weather.  An added bonus is the absence of annual weeds and crabgrass which will not interfere with fall seeding results compared to waiting for the spring of 2013 when they will thrive.  In general, seeding is best done in the fall because of these important factors.

If you suspect your brown lawn has more than a water issue, give your local turf expert a call and get it checked out before you carve that Halloween pumpkin!

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Reasons you should not be using Milky spore in NH & VT

Crows digging for grubs in the soil

Crows will detect grubs in your lawn before you can see a thing.

 

 

According to a 2008 University of New Hampshire publication on Milky Spore disease, there are more reasons NOT to use this product than to use it in your home lawn.  Milky spore has been around for decades and was the first biological control means for Japanese beetle grubs.  Milky Spore comes in a powder and consists of a bacteria.  The first reason not to use milky spore was the design, it was manufactured to control ONLY Japanese beetle grubs- unfortunately there are many more!  Other turf damaging grubs in NH & VT include Asiatic beetles, European and masked chafers, June and May beetles and armyworms.  So now you understand that even if milky spore could work, you would be controlling one grub out of many, not good odds.

The second major issue not to use milky spore is you must have Japanese beetles in your lawn in sufficient numbers to promote the bacterial population enough to expand and spread out in the soil.  Therefore, if you do not have a large japanese beetle population, one where you would likely see damage- why bother?  The third reason not to use milky spore in NH and VT is the fact that soil temperature must be between 60 and 70 degrees for 3 months.  The high soil temperature necessary does not occur in our region and the bacteria can take over 4 to 5 years to build up, under ideal conditions, with a high population of Japanese beetles!  Wow!  You might want to go buy that lottery ticket today versus buying milky spore.

The Fourth reason not to use milky spore relates to how Japanese beetle grubs must ingest or eat the milky spore in the soil, not come into contact with, but eat it.  To summarize, even under ideal conditions, purchasing and using milky spore disease is a serious waste of money and time especially since there are more effective organic/biological methods like Nematodes.

Nematodes are microscopic worms that are applied to the soil in a water spray.  The nematodes then swim and attack the grubs while swimming in water between the soil particles.  Nematodes will attack and destroy all of the grubs found in NH and VT listed above.  They will also attack sod webworms!  Since there is no “golden bullet”, Nematodes must be watered into the lawn or they will perish so that usually means applying them in the rain.  The soil must have sufficient moisture content and you must target the grubs at the right life cycle stage.  Having a professional apply Nematodes is the only true logistical option at this time, and our company does provide this service in our market area.

There are also a large range of new products on the market, some that do not even require a signal word because they are so applicator and environmentally friendly.  In some states like Vermont- you must have a pesticide license even if you are applying organic products since it is considered a pesticide even if it is organic.  Please keep in mind some organic products are just as dangerous or more so than some newer manufactured products.  There are several key points to remember before using any “pesticide”, the first being is a treatment required and why?  Secondly, what are the best material(s) to use for the job with the least impact to the environment and applicator.  Do we need to treat the entire lawn or just a portion of it?  Can we live with a small amount of damage and renovate later, only treating that one area or should we treat a larger area with a different product at a different time?  These are all questions best left to the professional because without knowing insect or disease life cycles, product components, mode of action, and application method- things can go wrong real quick.  This does not take into account the potential waste of material and use of a pesticide that should not have been used, regardless of composition.  Doing the right thing, at the right time is harder to do than you may think.

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