Updated December 11, 2020

Lawn Grubs

What are lawn grubs?

Lawn grubs, which is a collective term for army worms, cutworms and sod web worms, are a group of lawn pests that can attack any lawn - a healthy lawn is their favourite! They are leaf eating caterpillars and are the larvae of an adult moth and can cause quite a lot of damage to your turf in a small period of time.

Did you know? Lawn grubs can feed on 30cms of lawn each and every night.

What do lawn grubs look like?

Lawn grubs themselves can be green, brownish green or black in appearance and sometimes even have stripes. They hatch around 5 to 7 days after eggs are laid into your lawn, and that’s when the major damage to your lawn is done.

Did you know? Lawn grubs are usually found between September and March, and especially after heavy rain.

What do lawn grubs do to your lawn?

Lawn grubs cause root damage to your lawn, which means that your turf can no longer take up the moisture and nutrients it requires. This causes your lawn to go dry and straw-like - similar to drought conditions. When at its worst, your grass will actually be able to be peeled back easily from the soil surface as the roots have been eaten away. This is when you will inevitably find a large number of feeding larvae.

What are the signs that you have lawn grubs?

There are a few signs and symptoms that may pop up if your lawn is suffering from lawn grubs:

  • Increased bird activity on your lawn, as lawn grubs are tasty snacks for your feathered friends.
  • Greyish-brown moths, especially around dusk, as they are finding healthy spaces of lawn to lay their eggs. 
  • Spongy lawn.
  • Brown patches, especially when moving from winter to spring.
  • Straw like patches in your lawn.
  • A patch of lawn that is slightly shorter or thinner or that looks like it might have been recently mown (but you know it hasn’t).
  • The leaves on your lawn’s grass runners are disappearing.

Remember, if the grass is loose and you can easily pull it away from the roots it’s highly likely that your lawn is suffering from grub damage.

Did you know? Couch and Kikuyu turf varieties are usually the most prone to attack and Buffalo to a lesser extent.

How do you identify a lawn grub problem?

  • Test 1: Lay a wet towel, piece of carpet or hessian bag on your lawn overnight. In the morning, lift it up and see if anything has come to the surface.
  • Test 2: Mix a bucket of soapy water and put it on the edge of the affected area of lawn - if there are grubs present, they will come to the surface within 10 mins or so.

How do you get rid of lawn grubs?

The first thing to remember when it comes to treating lawn grubs is that it can take a little time! There are many products on the market that can help you get rid of lawn grubs, so we recommend heading to your local turf provider (or Rosemount Turf) to see what they have in stock.

We highly recommend LSA Grub Guard, which is a broad spectrum insecticide. The great thing about it, is that it also works as a preventative measure. Grub Guard contains the active ingredient Esfenvelerate (a broad-spectrum insecticide toxic to most insects, but less toxic to birds, and of minimal toxicity to mammals), so it’s safer to use than any other pest control product. In addition it also prevents some damage to your foliage as it can be applied when the moths appear, prior to the actual attack.

We also recommend checking out both of the following Lawn Solutions Australia videos regarding lawn grubs: 

Can you stop lawn grubs from returning?

Unfortunately, eradicating lawn grubs does not mean that they will not return. If you still have healthy lush patches of lawn, you are still at risk from lawn grubs and will need to keep your eye out for further attacks. Consider fertilising to encourage new turf leaf growth - this can help!

References:

Article written by Ashlee Hall

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