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Two kinds of grubs plague lawn and garden in two stages of life

Anyone with a rose or vegetable garden in Southern Lower Michigan is sure to have done battle with Japanese beetles and/or European chafer beetles. But as destructive and creepy as these crunchy, nonnative insects are in their adult stage, it’s nothing compared to the damage they do to lawns in their larval stage as white grubs.

Grubs are our Number 1 landscape pest. The adult beetles metamorphose from grub stage by late June and start chomping their way through lawns and gardens, taking a moment to mate and lay eggs in the soil.

Japanese beetles ravage a rose.

Japanese beetles ravage a rose.

By August, untold numbers of baby grubs are fattening up for winter on the tender roots of your turf. That’s when they’re closest to the surface and easier to kill. But too often, their presence only becomes known when brown patches develop or when raccoons or moles start wrecking your lawn as they feed on the grubs. By that time, grubs are moving toward their winter home deeper into the soil.

Whether your lawn will experience a significant grub problem in any given year cannot be predicted. And your neighbor’s lawn may escape while yours is ravaged. The amount of sun and moisture play a role. Researchers at Michigan State University and elsewhere have been actively studying and comparing methods of grub control.

A grub, close up.

A grub, close up.

Meanwhile, what can you do?  Grub control products found in garden centers in the spring are ineffective if applied too early. By the time you notice the effect of grubs, it’s too late to do much of anything.

The smarter choice is to line up Greenlawn in advance or if you notice an abundance of the shiny green or brown beetles in your yard. The pros at Greenlawn pay attention to the life cycle of grubs and know exactly when to apply grub control.

What to do about a grub-ravaged yard

If grubs catch you by surprise and damage your turf, schedule some renovation work in early fall. First rake away dead grass, then water. It’s possible that enough roots are left to send up new blades of grass. In thin or bare areas, reseeding may be required.