Why Is My Grass Soft and Spongy and Riddled With Brown Spots?

Here in the northeast, summer is in full swing. While we are outside enjoying all the warm air has to offer, several types of beetles are scouring our lawns, looking for a place to lay their eggs. These eggs will eventually turn into grubs, one of the largest threats to our Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts lawns. How can you stay vigilant and help protect your property? Read on to find out!

Identify and Understand Grub Behavior

Here in the northeast, most grubs are Japanese beetles, although a few are masked chafers. Both beetles look similar and have a similar life cycle. In June, the females of both types of beetles begin flying about, looking for a beautiful, well-irrigated lawn to relax on and lay their eggs. 

Adult Japanese beetles are between 1/3 and 1/2 inches in length with metallic green heads and copper-colored wing covers. The sides and tip of their abdomen are covered with bits of white-colored hair. The larvae are white to grey, 1/8 to one inch long, and are known for their C-shape when they curl up. 

Adult chafers are about a half-inch long and tan in color. They may look like Japanese beetles but are usually smaller and lighter in color. Their larvae also have the identifiable C-shape and can range in size from ¼ inch to one inch long with a dark brown head and legs.

Both types of adults are harmless and only live above ground but, once their eggs hatch, the larvae begin eating your grassroots, causing extensive damage to the roots of your lawn

Signs Your Rhode Island, Massachusetts, or Connecticut Lawn Has Grubs

Because grubs are so tiny, they are hard to spot. It’s important to know the symptoms so you can catch them early and take precautions to prevent further damage. Some giveaways of grub damage include:

  • Browning, where areas of your grass will not green even when overwatered or fertilized
  • Sections of grass roll easily when stepped on or kicked up, even if otherwise cared for properly
  • The early death of plants in your garden that otherwise have shown no signs of distress or poor health
  • Damage caused by moles, raccoons, skunks, or other medium-sized animals

Because brown spots can often be misdiagnosed as drought, heat stress, and other lawn stressors, to know for sure if you have a grub problem, take a shovel and dig up a small section of your lawn where grubs are suspected. Be sure to check a few spots. If your grass is experiencing an infestation, you will spot them. Another way to look for these bothersome critters is by tugging on a soft, spongy area of your grass. If it pulls up like a piece of carpet, chances are, you have a grub problem.

How Can I Prevent Grubs From Destroying My Lawn?

Grubs are always in search of their next meal. The best way to keep it from being on your lawn is to maintain the health of your lawn as much as possible. A strong, robust lawn will be better able to withstand a grub infestation should one occur. Keep your lawn well-nourished with nitrogen fertilizer, as well as phosphorous and potassium through a professional lawn care program. Adequate nutrition and minerals are the keys to healthy roots and a healthy lawn.

Other ways to help prevent a grub attack include:

  • Keep the mower height between two and three inches. This will help promote a healthy root system. Sticking to a good lawn maintenance routine will solve and prevent a variety of problems – not only grubs.
  • Grubs are attracted to moisture and humidity. Therefore, switch up your irrigation schedule and consider watering your lawn once a week for a bit longer. Allow it to dry out in between waterings. 
  • Treat dead or dying areas with an overseeding application to restore damaged areas, and discourage more beetles from moving in.
  • Apply an insecticide that contains imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin. These are good preventative measures during the spring. If you wait until later in the summer or fall, you’ll need what’s known as a “curative” product. This type of solution should contain carbaryl, trichlorfon, or zeta-cypermethrin.

Don’t Allow Grubs To Ruin Your Lawn! Invest in Lawn Care With 4evergreen Turf Management

The best way to prevent and eliminate grubs is to hire a professional lawn care company who can help you not only with maintaining the health of your lawn but also with grub control. At 4evergreen Turf Management, we offer a lawn care program that provides your turf with six rounds of balanced fertilizer to create thick, healthy grass. Our fertilizer provides your grass with the nutrients it needs to maintain its strength and fight off pest infestation, including grubs. The six rounds also contain weed control and grub control. Our grub control is a season-long grub preventative to help stop these destructive creatures from invading and destroying your lawn.

Looking for organic lawn care? We also offer a full organic lawn care program that will give you the health and protection you need but without the synthetic chemicals included in a traditional lawn care package. Our grub preventive can be added on for additional protection as an optional service.

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