Dealing With Chafer Grubs in Your Lawn
Although it is not always easy to tell, your garden provides a home to many forms of life, including fungi, insects, and small animals. Your garden’s soil provides the perfect environment for beetles to lay their eggs, which eventually develop into chafer grubs.
What are chafer grubs?
Chafer Grubs are the immature larvae of chafer beetles. The adults emerge in early summer and survive for about 2 to 3 weeks. During this time, they are harmless to your lawn, but they may lay eggs in the soil, which hatch into tiny larvae in the summer months. The grubs are soil dwelling creatures that feed on plant roots and other forms of organic matter in your soil. During the winter months, they lay dormant burrowed deep in the soil, reemerging in the spring months, when they live and feed in the more superficial layers of soil. Chafer grubs can have a cycle between 1-3 years depending on the species.
How to identify charger grubs in your lawn?
Chafers are long, stout, creamy coloured creatures with a light brown head and 3 pairs of distinctive legs close to the head. Their bodies are curved in a C shape, and they are bigger than adult beetles, measuring anywhere between 10 and 15mm when grown.
Do chafer grubs damage your lawn?
Chafer Grubs cause similar damage to leather jackets and other root eating grubs such as the Vine Weevil. A lawn in good health, with a strong root system, can survive minor infestations of chafer grubs with small consequences to its overall health.
However, in the case of more serious infestations, chafer grubs can cause serious damage to your lawn. As the roots of your lawn are weakened by the grubs, you may notice yellowish or bald patches appear, and if you lift the grass, your turf may peel away due to the damaged roots. Your lawn may also be seriously damaged as birds, foxes, badgers, and other animals dig into the soil to feed on the protein-rich larvae.
How to control chafer grubs?
Chafer attacks don’t follow any patterns, they may appear in your garden but not in a neighbouring garden or they can be a problem one year and not the next. Generally, newly cultivated ground or neglected weedy gardens are more prone to chafer attacks.
How to treat chafer grubs?
There are no legal chemicals available on the UK market to treat chafer infestations. There are, however, some treatment options available.
You can buy nematodes, which are natural parasites that latch onto the grubs and kill them. This method however, is fairly expensive and, as nematodes are living organisms, they need to be used within a few weeks of purchase or they’ll die.
Water your lawn well in the evening and cover the surface with a plastic sheet, blankets, rugs or any other coverage available to you. This will encourage the grubs to move to the surface of the lawn during the night. Remove the covers at dawn the next morning and let the birds and mammals that visit your garden take care of the problem for you by feasting on the grubs. This method is often used on golf greens, and while it may not be the most pleasant sight to wake up to, it is certainly effective.
How to prevent chafer grubs?
When it comes to your lawn, prevention is always cheaper and more effective than cure. As with many other diseases, maintaining a healthy lawn that can recuperate quickly is the most effective way of reducing damage. A heavily managed lawn is less likely to develop grub infestations, so regular lawn care practices and treatment with an iron sulphate rich feed, like our new 7.4% iron sulphate moss treatment, is a cost effective way of strengthening your lawn that will help prevent infestations.
Additionally, you could try to prevent beetles from laying the larvae eggs in your lawn. Beetles prefer moist soils to lay their eggs, so avoid watering your lawn if you notice heavy beetle activity in your garden.
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