Having a patchy and brown lawn is a true nightmare. Thus, if you are facing this issue, you can blame grubs.
Don’t leave your lawn untreated because these little pests can ruin it. Worry not since there are clever solutions to a grub infestation.
Here, you will dive into some natural ways to get rid of grubs in the garden.
With those tips, you can eradicate grubs in yard, flower beds, vegetable garden, and potted plants.
They also work wonders on driving chiggers and fleas away from yards.
Table of Contents
- How Do Grubs Destroy Lawns?
- Signs of a Grub Infestation
- How to Get Rid of Grubs Naturally
- The Life Cycle of Grubs
- The Best Time to Get Rid of Grubs
- To Summarize
How Do Grubs Destroy Lawns?
Grubs decimate healthy lawn by gorging on the roots of the grass in the summer and spring. Furthermore, these pests feed on leaves and organic matter in the soil.
Undoubtedly, grubs in large numbers can devastate your vegetable garden and flower beds easily because of their diet.
They also trigger the destruction of gardens, lawns, and flower beds indirectly since they entice raccoons, birds, and other grub-feeding critters into the yard.
Grubs typically introduce major grub issues to homeowners who have lawns. Since grubs consume the roots of the grass, they kill the root system.
Consequently, the grass cannot absorb the water and soil nutrients properly.
The grubs simply keep the grass from being healthy. No wonder you will see brown and barren patches of grass.
A grub population is considered small when every square foot of soil contains fewer than 5 grubs.
These grubs are not an issue and will not ruin the grass. On the other hand, a massive grub population (10 or more grubs) can damage the lawn significantly.
Related: Get Rid of Bugs in Garden Soil
Signs of a Grub Infestation
Before getting rid of grubs naturally, you must detect their presence in your garden. If you are clueless about whether there is a grub infestation or not, check these signs out:
Brown and Patchy Grass
Most homeowners realize they deal with grubs when they spot brown patches of grass. Apart from featuring odd shapes, these brown patches appear in random areas of the lawn.
Normally, people discover brown and patchy grass in the early fall, summer, and spring because grubs become very active during these seasons.
During the wintertime, grubs will dig deeper into the ground. In addition, they will come back underneath the topsoil in the spring to search for their meal.
The Presence of Racoons and Skunks
People may find their grub issue after they see birds or raccoons tearing up their lawns. These creatures do not hunt for regular earthworms, though.
Raccoons, skunks, and birds love to devour grubs. Of course, these animals will ruin the lawn looking for them.
Like grub damage, the damage the grub-eating pests create can be challenging and expensive to fix.
Yellow and Spongy Grass
Grubs love the roots of grasses. Once they have finished eating the roots, the grass will become yellow.
Moreover, they cause the lawn to turn spongy.
Further, to investigate a grub problem, you can try tugging at the grasses. If the grass lifts with ease, it indicates that the grubs have destroyed the root system.
Since the lawn gets damaged, you need to dispose of the patchy grass. Then, dig up the lawn in a few spots so you can uncover the number of grubs per square foot.
A healthy lawn can sustain up to 9 grubs every square foot. However, if the lawn is not in good health, it can only accommodate 5 or fewer grubs.
Hence, always check the grub population and lawn’s overall health before addressing the grub problem.
If you have no grub problem, then you must observe the lawn of your nearby neighbors carefully.
That way, you can take the right preventive actions.
Rising Numbers of Beetles or Moths
If you have seen beetles or moths in large numbers, it could indicate that you face a serious grub infestation.
These critters typically will fly around at the grass level. After noticing them, be sure to solve the grub problem immediately.
Another sign of a grub infestation is the appearance of drought. Although you water your yard regularly, it seems drought-stricken.
Likewise, this condition could signify that there is a grub issue.
As you know, grub damage often resembles drought. However, additional watering will not repair it for certain.
White Grubs are Present
Cut the turf using a spade before inspecting the soil underneath. If you notice grubs, you have faced a grub problem even if there is no damage to your lawn.
White grubs are the larvae of different beetle species, such as European chafers, June bugs, and Japanese beetles.
If you see these little white pests with soft bodies and six legs below their heads, it is time to eliminate them.
Meanwhile, recognizing the grub damage can be difficult because it usually looks like other types of lawn damage.
However, focusing on the six signs above can help you fix the grub damage right.
How to Get Rid of Grubs Naturally
If you have got a grub infestation, you may wonder how to get rid of grubs in vegetable garden using natural methods.
Avoid using harsh pesticides since they may inject toxins into the groundwater. They possibly put the health of your loved ones in danger, too.
Furthermore, there are some foolproof home remedies for troublesome grubs. Here is a selection of natural treatments:
1. Limit Irrigation
Grubs rely on moisture to thrive. Hence, you can decrease their population by creating an artificial drought.
If you do not provide grubs with moisture, their numbers will shrink eventually. This method is not always doable, though.
Sometimes, grubs dwell in flower beds or vegetable gardens. Of course, you must maintain their appearances.
Indeed, grubs live in lawns that need more water in the fall and summer. During this period, this natural treatment typically shows effectiveness against grubs.
If your lawn has the ability to go dormant and recover once you rewater it, stop irrigating it for 2-3 weeks in July.
Therefore, this natural method helps shrink the grub population and reduce summer water bills.
- This method works great if the yard is not getting water from natural resources, including rain.
2. Use Neem Oil
Azadirachtin is one of the neem oil’s components. Many people wrongly think that Azadirachtin and neem oil are no different.
Neem oil only has very little Azadirachtin, though.
Unlike Azadirachtin, neem oil is completely non-toxic. That means it will not damage non-target organisms or humans.
Pure neem oil makes an excellent natural pest repellent. Likewise, it can keep all kinds of garden pests out.
First, mix the oil with water. Then, spray the solution on the lawn when the night falls.
The neem oil prevents the beetles from producing eggs. Apart from repelling beetles, it keeps grubs from feeding and maturing.
- Neem oil needs regular application
3. Encourage Natural Predators
If you plan to get rid of grubs naturally, consider using biological controls. Nature can provide for their parasites and predators.
However, you can buy grubs’ predators and apply them yourself.
White grubs have plenty of enemies. While moles and skunks feed on the larvae, ants gorge on the eggs.
Furthermore, a few species of little flies and wasps parasitize the grubs.
Before introducing moles and raccoons, you need to think twice. These grubs’ natural predators will destroy the yard.
- Easy and non-toxic
- Ideal for households with pets and children
- The predators may ruin the yard.
4. Invite Birds to Gather in the Yard
Birds enjoy munching on grubs. If you encourage them to hang out in your yard, be ready to see them digging in flower beds.
You can introduce birds such as robins, blue jays, and chickadees to eat those bothersome grubs. Then, they will happily devour the grubs all day long.
To attract the winged visitors to the yard, you need to make it inviting. Hence, try setting up birdhouses, birdbaths, and bird feeders around the yard.
Not only does this method attract beneficial birds, but also it keeps the populations of the grubs under control.
It is a pet-friendly way to get rid of grubs too.
- Harmless and easy
- Pet-friendly and kid-friendly
- Birds possibly destroy potted plants or vegetable gardens
5. Rely on Beneficial Nematodes
Nematodes are minuscule parasitic worms that can eliminate garden pests like grubs in a safe way. Homeowners typically use them alongside milky spore.
For instance, you can purchase beneficial nematodes like Heterorhabditis bacteriophora from garden centers or trustworthy retailers.
Once they have arrived, apply alive nematodes to your yard right away.
I recommend applying the beneficial nematodes in the late afternoon or early morning. Do not place them in areas with direct sunlight.
Besides, you can distribute the nematodes over the grass using a sprayer or a watering can.
After introducing the first batch of nematodes, you must apply new nematodes once or twice a year for 2-3 years.
This enables you to establish the nematode populations.
- A long-term solution to grubs
- Potentially effective
- Establishing beneficial nematodes takes a long time.
- Nematodes need to be alive.
6. Feed Backyard Chickens
If natural ways to get rid of grubs in the garden are your thing, let your chickens graze the yard.
By doing so, they can pick up annoying grubs and devour them. Chickens are a natural yet effective grub treatment.
Moreover, the process of searching for grubs is excellent for soil. However, chickens can ruin the flower beds if you do not monitor them.
Consider digging up the tiny grubs yourself. Then, treat your backyard chickens with the grubs in their coop.
- Chickens potentially ruin flower beds.
7. Aerate and Dethatch the Lawn
Without a doubt, aeration and dethatching can render the lawn unattractive. Apart from creating an unwelcoming environment for grubs, these methods can eradicate them.
Dethatching and aeration let the milky spore and nematodes penetrate the soil. Moreover, these methods enable you to kill the grubs faster.
- Excellent for the lawn
- Safe and effective
- Does not kill grubs directly.
8. Use a Homemade Grub Killer
To make a homemade grub killer for vegetable garden, you will need borax.
This household cleaning ingredient contains boron that accumulates in the soil and damages the lawn in large concentrations.
You must use this DIY grub killer sparingly.
Fill the bottle with warm water. Next, add 1 tablespoon of borax. Apply this solution generously until you have killed the grub population.
You can also mix garlic, onion, or peppers with borax and warm water to create another homemade grub killer.
- Can be effective for short-term use
- The solution can kill plants when used too liberally or in prone areas like vegetable gardens.
9. Treat with Milky Spore
This bacterial disease targets white grubs that will turn into Japanese beetles. Since identifying which kind of grubs you deal with is hard, milky spore comes in handy.
You must apply milky spore 2 times per year for 2-3 years. Once the treatment is complete, it can control populations of white grubs for 15-20 years.
Before applying the milky spore, you should pay attention to environmental conditions because the spores are extremely sensitive.
Make sure the soil temperature is about 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Without the presence of white grubs, milky spores will not get established.
10. Relocate the Grubs
If you don’t mind grubs feeding on the roots of garden plants in a dedicated spot, consider grub relocation.
First, dig up the grubs. Next, move them away from the lawn.
11. Use Natural Beetle Repellents
You can make this DIY grub treatment by mixing mouthwash with water, lemon juice, and liquid soap.
For maximum effect, apply this beetle repellent repeatedly.
The Life Cycle of Grubs
After becoming adult beetles, the grubs leave the soil. They begin mating and laying eggs in July and August.
The adults have a 1-3-year lifespan.
Further, the adult beetles produce new grubs that consume the roots of the grass while preserving the unwanted infestation.
The Best Time to Get Rid of Grubs
You need to apply grub control agents in the late summer and early spring. During these times, grubs typically increase their activities on the lawn.
As for grub prevention agents, apply them in June or July before the grub eggs hatch.
Grubs can cause significant lawn damage, for sure. Now, you don’t need to see dead patches of grass any longer.
Using some eco-friendly and foolproof methods above, you can tackle your existing grub problem with ease.
They also help preserve your gorgeous garden.