Grub Worms in Tulsa
Every year, clients call us because in the course of digging in their flowerbeds in the spring, they see some white grubs. They immediately think they need grub control to kill the grubs because they’ve heard that grubs damage lawns.
Truthfully, grubs have gotten something of a bad rep because they’re capable of damaging turfgrass, but the fact of the matter is that they rarely do, here in Tulsa. Seeing grubs is normal. It’s only when they become overactive that there is a potential for damage to your grass. Granted, we’ve seen grub damage, but most of us have been in lawn care for 20 years or so.
When grubs multiply to 10 or more per square foot, they can cause turf damage by eating the roots of the lawn approximately 2 inches below the soil surface. When this happens, it’s easy to diagnose, because you can pick up the grass just like a piece of carpet.
Grub damage usually occurs from July through September. In the spring (dependent on weather conditions) very few species are at the point in their life cycle where they would be eating. Grubs are actually the larvae of beetles such as Japanese beetles or June bugs.
If grub damage is actually confirmed in a client’s lawn, we will apply a granular insecticide. The homeowner should water heavily the night before the application and then water heavily after the application. We will also apply a balanced fertilizer, or one that is high in phosphorus to help the damaged area recover. We will only treat the affected area and a three foot margin around the affected area.
Note: GreenGrass will treat lawn-damaging insects at no charge for full-program clients if their lawns are being damaged or if there is potential for damage.
Many people see brown spots in their lawns in the spring and believe that it’s grub damage. It’s more likely winter damage or Spring Dead Spot. In the summer, brown spots could indicate chinch bugs, an area the sprinkler is missing, or a hot spot – or even grub damage, but grub damage is usually the least likely.
Mole activity is another reason that customers call for grub treatment, believing that if the grubs are eliminated, the moles will go away. Moles will, in fact, eat a lot of different insects, not just grubs. The best way to get rid of moles is to set traps that you can buy at your lawn and garden supply or co-op. OSU recommends traps as the only proven way to rid your lawn of moles.
We are very careful not to apply insecticides if they aren’t needed. Treating for grubs would destroy all the insects, including the beneficial ones like earthworms. Soil is an amazing ecosystem in and of itself!
Here's a great video on natural grubworm prevention by Oklahoma Gardening's Kim Rebek with her guest OSU Extension entomologist Tom Royer