Are grubs destroying your lawn?

Many people are discovering that grubs, the larvae of some beetles, can destroy your lawn if not detected early and treated.

Although the most common destructive grub in Canada was originally from the native June bug, recent introductions of the Japanese beetle and the European chafer within the Niagara region have resulted in their migration further east and north in Ontario, causing havoc to lawns in eastern Ontario.

Adult June bugs are a shiny red-brown color, reaching up to 1 inch in length.  The Japanese beetle is much smaller, less than 1/2 inch long, with a metallic bronze and green color.  An adult European chafer is similar in size to the Japanese beetle, but tan or light brown in color.

All of these grubs have c-shaped bodies and six legs, however, the June bug larvae are white, while the larvae of the Japanese beetle and European chafer are a beige color. Upon hatching the grubs are tiny but reach a mature size of up to 1.5 inches.

 

 

 

Another major difference between the types of grubs is that the June bugs take 3 years to mature while the Japanese beetle and European chafer only take one year.  As a result, infestations of white grubs (June bugs larvae) happen every third year, while infestations of the other two types can happen annually.

 

grubs
chafer life cycle

 

Although grubs prefer the fibrous roots of your lawn the best, they do feed on other plants, especially carrots and potatoes.  Ryegrasses and fescues tend to be more resistant to grubs in your lawn, while geraniums and larkspur are immune to grubs in your gardens.

So, how do you know if your lawn is being attacked from below by grubs?  These are a few signs:

  • patches of lawn turn brown and can easily be lifted in chunks
  • skunks and birds, mainly starlings and blackbirds, will tear up chunks of lawn to get to the grubs
  • patches of affected lawn often feel spongy and soft to walk on

 

The best ways to prevent grubs are:

  • keep your lawn healthy as adult beetles prefer weak, stressed lawns for laying their eggs
  • aerate and remove excessive thatch annually to break up compacted soil and ensure good drainage
  • do not cut your lawn too short as adult beetles prefer short, dry lawns to lay their eggs
  • leave lawn clippings on the lawn and use fertilizers with high potassium and nitrogen
  • water your lawn deeply but infrequently to encourage deep roots and promote drought tolerant lawns
  • hand pick adult beetles putting them in soapy water to kill them
  • attract natural predators like blackbirds and starlings with birdhouses
  • use a mixture of ryegrass and fescues lawn seeds

 

To treat grub infestations:

  • apply nematodes (microscopic, parasitic organisms) to attack the grubs. Be sure to read package instructions on when and how to apply them
  • water your lawn heavily to bring them to the surface so birds can eat them
  • apply composted manure and grass seed to replace the destroyed lawn patches

 

Hopefully, you will not experience the damage these grubs can do!  If you do, I hope these tips help get rid of them quickly.

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Long sleeves and gloves essentials for garden work

In addition to gloves, I like to wear long sleeves to work in my gardens.  A good pair of garden gloves protects the skin and nails on your hands and fingers.  Otherwise, bacteria in the soil and garden material can cause health problems if allowed to penetrate your skin.  This happens faster and more often than you imagine.

Most garden gloves, however, do not protect much past the wrist area.  Without long sleeves to protect my arms, I end up with scratches, scrapes and contact dermatitis…

 

My skin is extra sensitive, so I have kept some of the long-sleeved, lightweight T-shirts and sweaters that my sons have outgrown for this purpose:

long sleeves

 

 

Now I just have to remember to quit pushing up the sleeves when I get warm!  That’s the problem I have when the weather warms up too quick in spring.  That seems to happen often here in Ottawa, Ontario.  I don’t get a chance to finish the spring cleanups in long sleeve weather.  It’s a tough problem to have, I know, but I do love the cooler weather for garden work.

 

Welcome to April

Well, although our April here in Ottawa is (typically) not quite as colorful as this picture, it does bring signs of spring.

 

April

 

 

We drove up to our cottage this past weekend to check things out and still could not get in the driveway as it is covered in snow, but things are starting to thaw out:

 

 

Spring is here….finally!

“Let it snow” belongs in December, not March!

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Snow can be pretty and welcome in December, but in March it is a bit overdone!  It is snowing here in Ottawa, again!

I am so ready for spring, cannot wait to get out to my own gardens and the ones I look after.  Check out my website GARDENS4U  to read about my gardening business.  I just finished updating it with new pictures and information.

Garden Genie Gloves

Don’t these Garden Genie gloves look amazing?  Imagine digging and planting without tools!  I must admit I use my hands for many functions that I should use a tool for, so these are intriguing…

garden genie gloves pic

I must go through a pair of regular gardening gloves per week in my business.  Very annoying not to mention expensive!  The index finger on my right hand goes first, and often I do not even realize it has given away until I take off my gloves and my fingernail is broken and dirty.  Over time all finger tips give away so all my nails get dirty, fast.  In fact, I had to give up the gel nails I loved because they got ruined the first month I was in business.

 

Order these garden genie gloves, and give them a try, I am sure you will love them.  Let me know what you think of them.  Some of you lucky readers can get out in your gardens already, I am still dreaming…

Free admission for 2017 to Parks Canada

What a great idea! I grew up in Cornwall, Ontario very close to the Long Sault Parkway which is on the St Lawrence River.   My family spent lots of time at the beautiful campsites and beaches there…. Continue reading

Mirror mirror on the wall…

Instead of “mirror, mirror on the wall”, I should say “gardens, gardens on my route,  who’s the fairest of them all?”  I know that “all” does not rhyme with “route”, but let me ensure you get the picture, literally…. Continue reading

An amazing work of art

 

This video I saw posted on Facebook reminds me of my favourite hymn growing up called All Things Bright and Beautiful:

Refrain:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flow’r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

I have encountered many spiders and webs in my job as a gardener, sure glad I try not to destroy their amazing works of art.