Application of Nematodes

You have decided to apply nematodes to your lawn to take care of the grubs. There are many types of nematodes so make sure you purchase the right type for your lawn. Your garden center should be able to help you out. If you live in the Ottawa area the best time for application of nematodes is at the end of April and August.

These nematodes arrive on a damp sponge or mixed with clay. They are extremely sensitive to temperature and periods of drought. If you don’t have time for an application then store it in the refrigerator for up to a week The nematodes should not be frozen.
Warm the sponge or clay mix to room temperature then soak in at least one gallon of water for 30 minutes. This water has to be at room temperature, non-chlorinated and not-distilled.

Apply using a watering can or sprayer. It’s best to apply during cool, cloudy weather. It it’s really hot then apply during the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler and the sun is not so bright.

The lawn or what’s left of it should be moist and recently watered. The temperature should be approximately between 12 to 30 degrees Centigrade or 55 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. For maximum success keep your lawn moist for 3 days after application.
The results are immediate and the grubs begin to die 24 hours after being ingested.

Still confused on how to do this, here is a how to video.

Application of Milky Spore

Summer is going to be over in a few weeks and this means that the beetles have laid their eggs and now the grubs will be back.

Last week we had discussed a number of options of getting rid of the grubs.? So start with Milky spore as this is a long term solution.

It’s best to apply them before the application of nematodes as the grubs need to ingest the milky spore in order to create more spore and propagate the spores. Also it’s best while the grubs are still feeding.? So either at the beginning of spring or at the end of summer.
Apply 1 teaspoon (approximately one sprinkle) of Milky Spore powder on top of grass in spots every 4 feet in rows 4 feet apart. Water lightly after application to soak Milky Spore into the soil. Watering for 15-20 minutes with a sprayer should be sufficient. You can wait 36 to 48 hours before watering in Milky Spore, but do not mow or rake your yard until Milky Spore has been soaked into the soil.

Don’t worry if there is a white residue left; it is the chalk carrier for Milky Spore. Areas between the spots will be inoculated naturally.

If you are really keen make your own dispenser, take at

Apply 1 teaspoon (approximately one sprinkle) of Milky Spore powder on top of grass in spots every 4 feet in rows 4 feet apart. Treat your lawn any season of the year as long as the ground is not frozen. Water lightly after application to soak Milky Spore into the soil. Watering for 15-20 minutes with a sprayer should be sufficient. You can wait 36 to 48 hours before watering in Milky Spore, but do not mow or rake your yard until Milky Spore has been soaked into the soil.

Don’t worry if there is a white residue left; it is the chalk carrier for Milky Spore. Areas between the spots will be inoculated naturally.

If you are really keen, make your own dispenser by attaching (duct tape works great) one pound coffee can with 15 nail holes to 4 foot stick six inches from bottom. If not just buy one.

Here is a how to video.? Happy grub busting.

Getting rid of them Grubs

I wrote about the life-cycle of the grub and the result of an invasion. The next step is to get rid of the grubs.

The first thing that comes to mind are chemicals however this is not the best solution. Other animals/birds that prey on the grubs are now exposed to these chemicals thus harming them. These chemicals will eventually enter the water table hence entering the water supply which will affect water plants/fish.
Secondly application of chemicals only take care of the problem for the current season as new larvae will be present in the fall and your lawn could be “dirt” by spring again needing more applications of chemicals.

Planting new grass is not an option as the grubs will eat the roots again. The best option are the “go green” solutions.
The simplest is to get a pet to eat the grubs i.e. a skunk for example. You will get free aeration at the same time : ) Seriously though what are the options?

  • hand pick the beetles
  • it’s the best time to turn the patch of dirt into a flower bed or rock garden
  • beneficial nematodes
  • milky spore

Flower beds or rock gardens are very easy to maintain especially if they are mulched well. More on that later this summer.

Beneficial nematodes are naturally occurring organisms that are not harmful to humans, pets, wildlife, birds, soil, earthworms, water sources or the atmosphere. Nematodes migrate through the soil finding insect larvae by detecting either a slight increase in temperature or release of methane gas. The nematodes enter the larvae and release a symbiotic bacteria within days. This kills the host.

Milky spore are beneficial bacteria, more specifically “Bacillus popilliae”. It infects the Japanese Beetles with Milky Spore disease. The disease paralyzes and kills the host grub. When the dead grub breaks down, it releases billions of new spores into the soil. This in turn will infect and kill other grubs. An infected grub will die within one to three weeks of being infected by Milky Spores.

It requires only one application but it could take 2 to 4 years to have any significant effect. This one application could last up to 15 years due to the release of new spores into the soil. Milky spore are not affected by freezing or other adverse conditions.? They are generally not affected by most fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides or other lawn care products.
There you have it two green solutions to getting rid of them grubs.

The Urban Gardener’s nightmare Grubs!!!

A discussion with a neighbor over the weekend has inspired me to write a series of posts this summer on The Urban Gardener. My version of the Urban Gardener is

  • someone who lives in the city or the burbs and has a few square feet of lawn
  • loves the idea of a pretty garden but does not have a lot of time to make it happen
  • does not want to use chemicals to deal with critters or otherwise

So what is one to do when all the snow is gone and so is all the grass? All that is left is a huge patch of dirt. The neighbors down the street have the same problem. The culprit is a little four letter word, “grub”.

grub lawn.jpg

A grub is the larvae of a beetle that feeds on grass roots. If there are more than 5 grubs per square meter then you have a problem. So what does a grub look like? If you are not squeamish then take a peek.
How can such a little creature destroy a whole lawn? Well in order to understand this you need to know the life cycle of the grub.

Let’s start with spring, the larvae feed on the roots of grass from mid-March to mid-May. Then comes the pupae stage and finally the Beetle emerges in mid-June and mate over a period of two weeks. They then lay their eggs in the soil. The eggs hatch and the grubs start to feed on the roots of the grass in late July to August. The grubs will burrow below the frost line in the fall however if it’s a warm winter or there is a thaw they will start to feed again.

grubs.jpg

Sometimes you will see a little hole in the grass, like someone has been digging, this is just another animal e.g a skunk, digging for food, r.e. grubs.