How to Control Grubs Without Chemicals
by Alec McClennan, on August 2, 2019
Have you been looking for a natural way to kill Grubs in your lawn? Are you concerned that your lawn might be at risk for Grub Damage? The good news is that you can control Grubs without using chemicals! Read on for some tips.
Tip 1: Water Properly
The first step in Natural Grub Prevention is to water your lawn properly. How does watering affect grubs? First let's take a look at what a grub is and it's lifecycle.
The image above shows how a Japanese Beetle comes out of the ground in late June, feeds on plants through the Summer, and then lays eggs that turn into grubs in the Fall. Have you ever watched Japanese Beetles closely in the Summer? You'll often see them stacked on top of each other, hard at work, making eggs.
In order for the Japanese Beetle Eggs to turn into Grubs, they need moisture. So, if you water your lawn every day during the Summer, you're giving the Grub Eggs just what they need to survive! If you don't water your lawn, your grass will probably go dormant, but your chance of Grub Damage will be lower.
Tip 2: Plant Deep Rooted Grasses
The best way I've found to prevent Grubs organically, without using any chemicals or products is to plant Turf Type Tall Fescue. This modern grass type works specifically well for individuals living in the Midwest. It has a really deep root system, and can get by with one deep watering every 7 days, even in periods of hot, dry weather. The Turf Type Tall Fescue, as found in our Tuff Turf Grass Seed, is also less likely to show signs of Grub Damage, because its roots are so extensive that a little feeding by Grubs doesn't usually cause many problems. Shallow rooted grasses, like Creeping Bentgrass, show a lot of damage from Grubs because there are far less roots to help it survive.
Tip 3: Use Beneficial Nematodes to Kill Grubs, Naturally!
What if you don't have a Tall Fescue Lawn and you're concerned that you might have some Grub problems? The best time to kill Grubs in your lawn, without chemicals, is in late Summer or early Fall, when the new Grubs are very small. We've found that Beneficial Nematodes will eliminate 50-75% of the Grubs in your lawn, and that is usually enough to minimize the damage. What? You want to kill all the grubs? Well that just isn't necessary or even possible. A healthy lawn can withstand up to 6 grubs per square foot. If you have an average American lawn (8,000 square feet or 1/5th of an acre), your lawn can withstand 48,000 Grubs before showing signs of damage. It still might be a good idea to do whatever you can to reduce the populations however, and that's where our Organic Grub Control Service will come in handy.
Beneficial Nematodes are microscopic worms that occur naturally in all soils. Like people, there are good nematodes and bad nematodes. The bad nematodes plant roots, and the good nematodes attach themselves to Grub Larvae in the soil and suck the life out of them. Most soils are lacking in good nematodes, so it helps to apply a round of these good microorganisms early each Fall, to reduce the number of Grubs in your lawn. If you'd like to address this issue on your own, we recommend, Beneficial Nematode Natural Grub Killer.
How to Apply Beneficial Nematodes for Natural Grub Control
Beneficial Nematodes for Grub Control are easy to apply. A hose end sprayer is probably the preferred method of application. The nematodes come in a powder and you add the powder to some water in your hose end sprayer, shake it up, and apply it over the area you'd like to treat, until you've used up the right amount of nematodes. Nematodes can die in the sunlight, so it helps to use a lot of water when you're applying them and water them into the soil. If you do the application in the evening, that gives the nematodes all night to work their way into the soil before the sun comes up the next day.
How Many Nematodes do you Need?
Application rates for nematodes vary widely. Some people claim control with very low rates, and others recommend very high rates. One pack of 50 million of our nematodes will treat between 2,500 and 5,000 square feet. If you know you have a lot of Grubs, and you're concerned about the damage, you'll want to use the pack to cover 2,500 square feet. If you're applying it preventatively, and haven't had Grub problems in the past, one pack of 50 million will probably cover 5,000 square feet just fine.
Milky Spore for Natural Grub Control
I recommend Milky Spore to reduce the number of Japanese Beetles you have in your yard. Milky Spore is just spores of something called "milky disease," which infects Japanese Beetle larvae, one type of Grub. The problem with Milky Spore is that it doesn't work against European Chafer Grubs, Masked Chafer Grubs, and other Grubs that can do more damage to your lawn than a Japanese Beetle Grub. So, if you're trying to fight Japanese Beetles, Milky Spore is great because once it gets established, it can fight grubs for up to ten years! But, if you're trying to protect your lawn from grubs, I recommend using the Beneficial Nematodes Natural Grub Killer every year during the late Summer, September specifically.