Lawn Pest Library: Lawn Grubs

Lawn Pest Library: Lawn Grubs

Most causes for lawn damage are easily detected. A weed infestation, or drought and other climate phenomena are no mystery. But some causes of lawn-care problems are not immediately visible to the eye. In fact, they may be hidden right under the grass. It may require a little detective work, but you may discover that lawn grubs are the culprit.

Lawn grubs, also known as white grubs or grub worms, are the larvae of various beetles. You won’t spot them right away because they are below the grass nibbling on the roots, but the damage these undercover agents do is very obvious.

Lawn Grubs – Signs and Symptoms

It’s mid-to-late summer and your lawn isn’t looking as nice as it did at the start of the season. How do you know grubs are making a mess of your yard?

  • Spots – Irregular brown or yellow areas appear on your lawn.
  • Soggy ground– These damaged areas may feel soggy or spongy underfoot.
  • Give a tug – Grab some of the damaged grass and tug. Does the lawn peel back like a rug to reveal whitish worm-like creatures?
  • More wildlife – Are you seeing more unwanted animals in your yard lately? It could be that they have discovered your grubs are a tasty food source.
  • Weeds – Are you suddenly noticing more weeds in your yard? It could be due to grub damage. Thin or dead patches of grass give weeds a great place to grow.

Grub Prevention

  • Leave the grass a little longer – Many types of beetles like to lay their eggs in sunny places, and taller grass just won’t do.
  • Milky Spore – An organic way to prevent grubs, this soil-dwelling bacteria kills Japanese beetles before they lay their eggs.
  • Nematodes – The worm-like parasites eat certain bugs. You’ll find nematode-containing products at many hardware, garden, or home stores.
  • Insecticide – The best time to use insecticide is from midsummer to early fall, while they are still young and feeding close to the surface. Be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully. If you are not certain how use insecticide properly and safely, contact a professional.

Lawn grubs often go unnoticed until the damage is significant. To find out more about grubs and how to prevent them, contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone].

5 Tips to Prevent Ticks in Your Yard

5 Tips to Prevent Ticks in Your Yard

Ticks have always been an unpopular pest. Infamous for hitchhiking on the fur of pets, these pesky parasites can also get carried into our homes on clothes and in hair. Nowadays, they are even more dreaded for causing a hotbed of health concerns, including transmitting Lyme disease. And since ticks tend to be more prevalent during the warmer seasons—a time we tend to take to the outdoors to enjoy the weather— it’s important to make your lawn less appealing to these nasty critters. Read on to find out how to prevent ticks in your yard.

What Are Ticks?

First, it’s important to be able to identify these tiny parasites that feed off the blood of their hosts. The carrier of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is the deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick. It’s brown to brownish red in color, has a flattened appearance, and is usually no bigger than a freckle. Like most ticks, they have eight legs and a tiny head atop a much larger round body.

Tips to Prevent Ticks in Your Yard

1. Keep your yard well-maintained – Ticks like to hang out in tall brush and grasses or overgrown areas of the lawn. Mowing regularly and keeping up with a maintenance routine is key. Make sure to rid your yard of leaf piles and grass clippings. If you have a wood pile, keep the wood neatly stacked so small animals can’t make it their home. Ticks prefer shaded, moist areas, so prune trees and bushes in order to let more sun shine through.

2. Set boundaries – Create a barrier between your yard and any wooded or overgrown areas adjacent to your property. Using wood chips or gravel in these buffer zones help deter ticks. Oddly enough, they don’t like walking across these materials, and fortunately for us, they can’t fly.

3. Keep it clean – Although ticks live outdoors, they often hitchhike on a host to find a warm, dry place to call home. Once inside, they look for places to hide, like cracks and crevices. Keeping your home clean and uncluttered makes it hard for them to get comfy. The same goes for clutter laying around your yard, like old toys, furniture, or trash.

Think of giving your home a proper spring cleaning no matter the time of year. Indoors, your vacuum cleaner is the best tool–the smaller attachments can easily get into cracks, crevices, and other hard-to-reach places.

4. Chicks dig ticks – Chickens find ticks to be a tasty snack. So if you have thought about keeping a few in your yard to have fresh eggs at hand, another good reason to provide a home for these fine-feathered friends is that they’ll peck away at the pests on your property.

5. Poison the pests – Acaricides, or tick pesticides, can be used to reduce the amount of ticks on parts of your property. But using chemicals can be dangerous, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully. If you have any concerns, call a lawn-care professional.

To find out more on how to keep your yard pest free, contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone].

Lawn Weeds: Yellow Nutsedge

Lawn Weeds: Yellow Nutsedge

Part of the sedge family, yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) is a perennial that is often mistaken for grass. This invasive weed usually invades lawns in the summer when it grows rapidly and becomes more and more difficult to control once established.

Identifying Yellow Nutsedge

Yellow nutsedge grows upright—sometimes up to 3 feet tall—forming clumps that resemble dense patches of grass. A closer look shows a pointed tip and hairless, triangular-shaped stems. Unlike blades of grass that grow in sets of two, the thick, light-green leaves that grow from its base are arranged in sets of three. The weed produces small clumps of straw-colored flowers in early to late summer when the days have the most hours of sunlight.

Yellow Nutsedge Spread

Believe it or not, yellow nutsedge does not reproduce through the spread of its seed like other weeds. Tubers growing from an elaborate underground network of creeping horizontal stems known as rhizomes are the most frequent reason for an invasion. Rhizomes survive in the soil through the freezing temperatures of winter until the moist conditions of spring arrive. The skin of these rhizomes are covered in a chemical that is activated in moist soil, making swampy, rainy conditions optimal for growth.

Yellow Nutsedge Control

This weed is notoriously difficult to manage because of the rhizomes’ multiple buds, long sprouting period, and resistance to systemic herbicides. Here are a few tips to try.

  • Proper maintenance: a healthy, well-fertilized, well-watered lawn with good drainage will grow a thick root system of its own, choking out weeds.
  • Prevention: hand pulling can help prevent the spread of this weed—if it’s done early enough in the growing process.
  • Early detection: the most effective chemical treatment is with preemergence herbicides. These are designed to enter the shoots and root systems of yellow nutsedge seedlings.
  • Herbicides: herbicides designated specifically for yellow nutsedge can be used once the weed has emerged, but rhizomes are often resistant, making repeat applications necessary.

Effectively attacking this lawn weed can require professional assistance. Call us today at [phone] for assistance in treating your lawn for unwanted weeds.

5 Signs of Lawn Grubs

5 Signs of Lawn Grubs

Lawn grubs, also known as grub worms, are the larvae of various beetles. Despite their nickname, they are technically not worms at all. Earthworms are good for your yard and garden, while grub worms are definitely an enemy. These plump pests are often whitish in color with brown heads, and their bodies tend to curl into a “C” shape. There are signs of lawn grubs that you can look for in your yard to help you identify an infestation.

Where Do Lawn Grubs Come From?

The answer is beetles. When beetles appear early summer, they begin laying their eggs in grasses and gardens. A few weeks later, these eggs hatch into larvae that burrow down into the soil to find plant or grass roots to eat. By the end of August, your lawn or garden may show signs of grub damage.

Why Lawn Grubs are Bad

When larvae emerge from the egg stage, they do so with huge appetites and your yard becomes an all-you-can eat buffet. You’ll find them dining voraciously on the grass roots of your lawn, but they won’t stop there. Plants, flowers, and veggie gardens also offer tasty roots to feed on.

In order for the grass in your yard to grow green and lush, it needs to be able to absorb nutrients and water through its root system. When too many grubs feed on these roots, the lawn can’t receive the nutrients it requires to survive.

Five Signs of Lawn Grubs in Your Yard

  1. Wilted stems, droopy leaves, and dead or dying plants can be signs that grubs are attacking your landscaping.
  2. Irregular yellow or brown patches of grass. Grubs may have been dining on the roots and the grass can’t get the water and nutrients it needs.
  3. When a lawn has grub damage, it can feel spongy underfoot in the areas where the grubs have been feeding. If you can grab a clump of grass and peel the turf back like a loose rug, it means that the roots have been eaten away or damaged, and you may even see the grubs still trying to finish off the job.
  4. A sudden appearance of more weeds. When areas of your grass have died off or thinned out, it provides a place for weeds to easily grow and thrive.
  5. Mole holes. If burrowing creatures like moles and groundhogs are suddenly taking up residence in your yard, or if you are seeing the results of their presence—holes and dug up areas of grass—chances are they’ve found some tasty tidbits, like lawn grubs, to eat. And while you are happy they are eating the grubs, your lawn will be less attractive with the mess they leave in their wake.

To find out more about how to recognize grub damage and how to prevent it, contact us today at [phone].