How Do I Know If My Lawn Has Grub Damage?

If you have a lawn, you have grubs. In the Kansas City area, grubs are everywhere and there’s no way to keep them from living in your soil. The problem comes when you get too many grubs. They eat the roots of your grass and eventually kill it. Where do they come from? Grubs are the larvae of beetles like the June Bug, the Black Masked Chaffer, or the Japanese beetle. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the roots below the surface of your lawn. The bad thing is, most homeowners don’t know they are there until they see grub damage, and by then, it’s too late. The grass is dead. At Heritage Lawns & Irrigation, we know you have a lot of questions about grubs. Hopefully, we can answer most of them here.

When Does Grub Damage Show Up?

Look for damage in late August or September. Grubs hatch and  begin eating in June, but because the weather is fairly mild in June, the grass won’t usually show signs of stress. In late August and early September, after weeks of high temperatures and little rain, yards get dry and your damaged grass will turn yellow, then brown, and then die. Another sign that you have grubs is if you notice areas of your lawn that are disturbed. Raccoons, moles, and birds are good at finding the grubs and digging up the lawn while foraging. If  you see signs of digging, it could mean grubs are present just below the surface.

What Does Grub Damage Look Like?

Grub damage is easy to spot in lawns. Look for thinning or dead grass in random irregularly shaped spots or large patches in late August or early September. A sure sign that the damage is due to grubs is that you can pull up on a brown section of turf and the entire piece will lift up like a piece of carpet because there are no roots to hold it down. Unfortunately, this grass will not grow back. You will have to plant new grass in the damaged areas either in the fall or the following spring. 

How Do You Check for Grubs?

You don’t have to wait until the damage is done. You can be proactive and seek them out. Perform the grub test. Cut several square foot sections of turf, about 2-4 inches deep, in different areas of your lawn. Lift the sod and pull back the grass to expose the soil below. Check the soil, the turf, and the thatch for fat, white, (disgusting) worms in a C shape. Don’t panic if you see 3-5. That’s fairly normal and doesn’t require treatment. But more than 5 per square foot means you’ll want to treat your yard.

When Is the Best Time to Treat for Grubs?

There are two times to treat for grubs. There is usually a short window in early spring before the grubs get too big and pupate, but it is a narrow window and can be difficult to time properly. The best time to treat is at the end of July to the beginning of August. This is the time of year that the grubs emerge from their eggs and burrow up into the top layer of soil where they eat the roots of the grass. They are easiest to kill in this early stage of development because they are young and near the top of the soil. If you wait too long, in early fall they burrow four to eight inches into the soil to get away from the cold and the treatment can’t reach them. They will return older and hardier in the spring and will cause more damage then. You want to get your grub treatment down by the end of July or early August to be the most effective.

The EcoPride Solution

Here at Heritage, the quality of our lawns is a very high priority. Knowing that white grubs are a major problem here in the Kansas City Metro, we have implemented grub prevention into our EcoPride Program. For the EcoPride solution, your Lawn Coach would apply your treatment through June and the first part of July to ensure it is effective during the grubs’ most vulnerable time. We use the same product that is found in many flea and tick collars for pets. It’s very safe, very effective and won’t cause any adverse effects with people, pets, or your lawn. 

For more information on grub control, or to begin treatment, contact your Lawn Coach today!