37 July 21, 2010

Many of you have seen the appearance of Japanese beetles in your yard. For some people, it has been an annual event. For other gardeners, the beetle’s appearance has either been devastating to the plants in the garden or it has been more of a minor annoyance. Whatever the situation in your yard, one thing you can be sure of is that the female beetles are going to be laying eggs in your lawn. During the early part of September, those eggs will hatch and the grubs from those eggs will begin to feed on the roots of your lawn. Knowing this information can save you a lot of extra work later in the season. The key is to do something now to kill those grubs soon after they hatch out from those eggs. Here are a couple of things you can do now.

Many of you will apply a granular grub control to your lawn. Many of you will wait until spring to apply a grub control because that is when many of the commercials run on the radio and television. There are two different types of granular control. One is a 24-hour control. It is applied when the grubs are actively feeding. You apply the product and water it into the soil. The product comes into contact with the grubs and kills the grubs on contact. The other granular control is a season long control. You apply this product once a year and it kills the grubs all season long. This sounds like the better product and it is if you apply it at the right time of the year. The season long grub control is watered into the lawn and it then is absorbed into the roots of the grass. The grub control stays in the roots for the entire season. As the grubs feed on the roots, they are soon killed. What you need to know is that unlike the 24-hour grub control, it does need time to work. It takes about 30 days for the season long grub control to be absorbed by the roots. If you have a bad infestation of grubs, this isn’t the right product to use. However, if you apply this product at least 30 days before the beetle’s eggs are scheduled to hatch, you will have the insecticide in the roots just as the eggs hatch and the grubs begin to feed. Any insect control works best when you hit the problem insect early on in the season. Knowing that the eggs hatch out in early September, now would be a good time to apply the season long grub control. This product is applied with a fertilizer spreader and watered into the soil. Once attached to the roots, this product will kill the grubs while they are small and before they can do major damage to the roots.

Many of you would prefer to use an organic approach to grub control. There is a very effective control method called Milky Spore. This product is a host specific bacterium. This means that the bacteria in this product only attack the beetle grubs. Even if a bird ate an infected grub, the bird would not be harmed. Milky Spore is applied to the surface of the soil and watered into the soil. This places spores of the disease into the soil near the roots. As the grub feeds, it ingests some of the spores. The spores immediately attack the grub and cause it to stop feeding. Eventually the grub dies and ultimately releasing more of the bacteria back into the soil. The bacteria can effectively stay in the soil for 10 or more years. This makes this a very effective way of controlling the grubs for years to come. The Milky Spore comes in two formulations. There is a granular form that can be applied with a fertilizer spreader. It is applied once in the spring, once in the summer and once in the fall. This needs to be done for two years in a row to build up enough of the disease in the soil. There is also a powdered form that is applied just one time. It is applied by dropping a teaspoon of the product every 3 feet in rows 3 feet apart. There is an applicator you can use to make this process easier. Once the powder is down, you water it in and you are done applying grub control for 10 or more years! This may be a more labor-intensive method, but in the long run it is the most economical and environmentally friendly way to go. Milky Spore can be applied any time of the year, unless, of course, the ground is frozen. I don’t think that will be a danger for a few weeks! Now would be a good time to start.

The whole key to grub control is to get the grubs under control before they do major damage to your lawn. For that reason, you should be applying one of the grub control methods now before you forget to do it.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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