Now that your lawn is all greened up let’s make sure we keep it that way. In addition to appropriate watering, mowing, and feeding, you will also want to keep an eye out for grub damage. It can sneak up on you if you’re not watching closely because grub damage looks exactly like drought damage.
Grub damage in my yard in late June 2006.
So if you have areas of your lawn that look like the grass is going brown because it’s not getting enough water try the “tug” test. Try pulling on a fistful of brown grass blades. If they won’t readily pull up it is likely a lack of water, but if they pull right out like there are no roots you probably have grubs.
We could get into all the different types of grubs- white grubs, billbug grubs, etc. (in east Idaho the most common type is the billbug grub), but you really don’t need to know all that. All you need to know is what to do about it. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve only had a grub problem a couple of times in the twelve years I’ve been in my current home. So I don’t automatically use a grub control. I only use it if I see a current problem, or if I had an infestation the previous year.
Here’s what Billbug Grubs look like when you peel back the sod.
But grubs are much easier to prevent than to eradicate. So if you had problems with lawn grubs last year you will want to be proactive with preventative treatments this year. In my own experience (and from talking to customers at the garden center as well) the most effective program is to apply Hi Yield Grub Free Zone II in early May and again in early July. An easy way to remember is to apply it around Mother’s Day and Independence Day. Just apply the granules with a lawn spreader according to the directions on the bag.
And keep an eye out for those “dry” spots that aren’t actually dry. They could be the beginning of a grub infestation. Here’s hoping your lawn and mine are spared this year.