What is causing lawn to be bare, brown and dug up in places and what can be done about it?
There are a number of pests that inhabit lawns which can lead to other animals digging to find them for a source of food – most likely, it is racoons or skunks that are causing the digging damage.
The pests in the lawn – white grubs which could be either European Chafer, Japanese Beetles, June Bugs or Chinch Bugs. Control for these is not easy. The use of a bio-pesticide composed of Nematodes in combination with a fungus is your best bet for some control. That being said, there are 5 very important issues to be aware of when using this product.
1. Nematodes need to be refrigerated other wise they will die and be of no use.
2. There is a short shelf life with Nematodes so purchase from a reputable supplier is crucial.
3. Products need to be used only in overcast conditions.
4. The area of lawn to be treated must be irrigated both prior to and after application.
5. Area to be treated must be measured carefully and the right concentration of product used in order to target the grubs.
For Chafers and Beetles, application must be done when the soil temperature is above 15 degrees C. For Chinch Bugs, application must be done when the soil temperature is above 30 degrees C. Studies have shown that treatment in May is ineffective as the soil is too cold and the host is resistant. The best time to treat is August as the soil is warm enough but the rate of reduction in pests may be only be 50%. Knowing that Nematodes have anywhere between a 2 and 5 day life cycle, a second treatment is usual.