Generally, most responsible homeowners want to have a well manicured lawn. When a brown patch appears on the lawn, often people attribute this to bad watering practices or blame the environment. However, the reason for that unsightly brown patch, or those unsightly brown patches, may have a lot to do with what is happening below the surface rather than the conditions above the surface. Grubs may be causing that problem.
Grubs are different types of beetle larvae. Most beetles lay eggs in the soil during the mid-summer months. A grub is a small stubby white worm-like organism that develops from the egg. The grub stays beneath the soil for the duration of early summer and winter, eating all the while. The grub molts and becomes bigger during this time and in the late winter months, enters the final stage of its infant life. Below the soil, the larvae enter the pupae stage and in late early spring the grub will have changed from a grub to an adult beetle. The adult beetle climbs to the surface of the soil and begins to look for food to repeat the process all over again.
Grubs that feast under the soil feast on the roots of the grass on the lawn. As the grubs eat the roots of the grass, they damage the root. This is especially true as the grub grows and becomes bigger and bigger. Most grub damage becomes evident in early to late fall when the grubs are in their final stage before entering pupae stage. The evidence of grubs becomes quite obvious at this point for two reasons. First, brown patches begin to appear on the surface in the fall. If you notice the same brown patches year after year in the fall, this is a good indication you have a grub infestation. Additionally, more damage is done by the grub to the plant root during this time because the grub is larger, must eat more, and eats the root of the plant closer to the surface where the most nutrients are, before retreating well below the soil to enter the pupae stage. If you want absolute proof that grubs are the problem, one way to tell is to dig the soil up in an affected area during the early fall. Grubs feed close to the surface of the soil during this time and you will not have to dig deep to find evidence of them.
One of the steps that you can take to effectively kill grubs is to let your lawn dry out. If you stop watering your lawn, the grass will not grow and it will become dormant. With grass that is dormant, the nutrients a grub needs to continue to grow and enter the next stages will be denied and the grubs will die. The next fall, you should do lawn care maintenance like normal. However, the next summer be careful to only water your lawn when it absolutely needs it. Denying water and thus denying nutrients to grubs in one summer can kills thousands of grubs. If denying your grass water kills most of your grass or if the grubs have done significant damage, it may be necessary to reseed your lawn. Although this can be expensive and time consuming, pick your new grass seed wisely to prevent grubs from infesting your yard again. Grubs do not like certain types of grass and will, therefore, stay away. Make sure you use either bluegrass, rye, or fescue to reseed the yard.
Other Ways to Kill Grubs at Home
Another homemade grub killing method is to attack the problem on the surface. If you see an adult beetle, pick the beetle off of the plant and put it in a jar filled with water and some biodegradable soap. More adult beetles eliminated in this matter means less adult female beetles returning to the soil to lay new eggs.
Lastly, you can apply nematodes or milky spore to your lawn to combat and eliminate grubs. Although this is not exactly a homemade method since you have to purchase both nematodes and milky spore from a store, you can apply it yourself to the lawn without the aid of a professional by following the instructions on the back of the material.