July lawn care tends to be a battle against two things in Minnesota: hot dry summer days and insects. There are a number of insects that you may be battling at this point of the season in your lawn. One major culprit that can cause damage to your turf is grubs. Grubs will eat the roots of the grass killing it from the underside without you knowing that they’re even there. Grass can turn spotty and die in random spots even if the rest of the lawn is healthy. If left untreated it can cause some major damage to your grass. The main culprit is Japanese Beetle grubs. They attack your lawn feeding on the roots of the grass. The following summer they emerge and devour vegetation including shrubs, trees and flowers (especially roses).
Another issue that can arise with grubs is the fact that they attract moles. Moles eat grubs which sounds great for ridding your lawn of the pest however, they will also tunnel all over the lawn in search of a meal causing as much if not more damage to your lawn than the grubs. (note: getting rid of the grubs will not necessarily rid you of mole problems as they also will eat earthworms and other ground insects).
Another issue is ants. Ant hills can pop up in a matter of days and if left untreated will continue to grow killing the grass. Ant will also spread from one spot to another. Usually just a yard pest, you do have to be careful depending on which variety of ants that you’re dealing with. The most common variety of ants in our neck of the woods that are mound builders are either the “common” black ant or the “sweet” eating ant.
The ant that you need to look out for is the fire ant (pictured on the right). It is a very aggressive ant that will attack when provoked and can cause real damage depending on a persons reaction to its bite. It is more red in color and tends to be larger than the sweet eating brown ant. Be very careful when dealing with as fire ant hill.
Solution: for issues with lawn pests you have a couple of options. For grubs and a general ant control there is granules that you can spread with a fertilizer spreader over the entire surface of the lawn. Ortho, Terro and others make a lawn insect killer that can be spread this way. Scotts also has a summer fertilizer that has insect control in it that will work for ants and grubs. So if you’re in need of a feeding in the summer this could be used. If you use the fertilizer make sure the grass is getting enough water so that you don’t burn your lawn. Scotts has improved their line of fertilizer to allow you to water less but don’t let that you get careless with watering.
If you don’t feel comfortable using a chemical on your lawn you could attempt other methods for ridding your lawn of pests. For grubs there isn’t an easy solution that doesn’t involve chemicals. One method is to apply a milky spore to the soil. This method takes a few seasons (meaning a few years) to be affective. It is a spore that when ingested kills the grub over time. Another method is to attract more grub eating birds. Have water, feeders, and bird houses on hand to attract birds such as cardinals, blue jays, robins, grackles, starlings, purple martins, and crows.
For ant hills there are a few easy methods that you may have success trying. Boil 2-3 gallons of hot water and pour it directly on the hill. You can also try diatomaceous earth which works but is a relatively slow killer. The issue with these methods is that potentially you could have left over ants that will simply rebuild the hill or just move it somewhere else.
For more information contact us at 763-553-1222
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