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Battling White Grubs in Michigan Turfgrass

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

White grubs are among the most destructive insect pests in residential lawns. In Michigan, this pernicious rascal is known to feed on the rhizomes and roots of virtually all common turfgrass species, from every county south of Saginaw Bay and even a few places north. According to the Michigan Sod Growers Association, if you have an irrigated lawn, or water your grass frequently, you can reduce damage from these C-shaped white insects.

Grubs move fast, once they hatch from eggs just below the surface of the soil. In Michigan, grub feeding is exceptionally strong from mid-August through September. They thrive when your turfgrass is stressed or dried by hot weather. You'll know you have them if a section of the lawn is spongy and rolls up easily. Then the white grubs are easy to see.
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Occasionally homeowners will find small infestations in new sod. One way to ensure the turf is sound is to take four samples of sod with a 6" blade from distinct sections of sod and count the total number of grubs in the combined samples. Now you'll have an average number of grubs per square foot of new sod. If you have less than 5 grubs per square foot, your new sod will fare just fine.

Fighting Back

To really eliminate the pest, you'll have to treat the soil where grubs feed at the roots. That means watering the insecticide down into your lawn immediately after applying and continuing to soak it down for four or five more days. Every year, grub insecticides are retired from the market and new brands introduced. Some current types include Mach-2 (halofenozide), Dylox (trichlorfon), and Sevin (carbaryl).

If your lawn has more than a 1/2 inch of thatch on it, you may want to aerate it before using insecticide to allow for maximum penetration to the root structures.


About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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