This is a voracious and devastating pest that invades lawns. The damage starts when the chafer grubs feed on lawn roots. Later on, the damage intensifies when predatory animals such as raccoons, skunks, and crows tear up lawns looking to feed on these grubs.
Grubs hatch around mid-July and immediately begin feeding on grass roots. By the end of October, these larvae are over one inch in length and are almost unstoppable. They feed for the duration of the winter and then pupate in early spring. The adult beetles emerge in late May, fly to nearby deciduous trees where they mate and subsequently deposit their eggs in nearby lawns where the cycle repeats.
Nematodes are microscopic worms that actively infect and kill the European Chafer. They naturally live in small numbers in the soil, but when applied in larger concentrations, Nematodes can dramatically reduce many pest numbers.
The most important feature of this treatment is that Nematodes are 100% natural, and pose zero risk to the environment, pets, or people.
To be most effective, Nematodes must be applied in mid to late July, and lawns need to be watered for at least three weeks after the application.
Lawns are made of very competitive grasses; however, weeds are as resilient and in certain conditions even more competitive than the grasses.
Uneven watering, compaction, poor drainage, drought, etc. can all make the grasses stressed and less competitive. These conditions will allow the weeds to get a foothold on the lawns and slowly but surely take over the entire area.
In the past, we were able to use fairly inexpensive and effective herbicides to control these weeds. However, recently that has changed. Municipalities are looking into making their cities greener, and more environmentally safe; we are in full agreement.
This means that we either learn to live with weeds in our lawns, or use environmentally safe products to control them.
We are happy to report that a new safer product has been developed recently. However, it is very expensive and not as effective as the old herbicides.
This product is made with concentrated form of iron, which means it does not affect the soil or animals. It will affect many of the common weeds found in lawns. We have found that after one application the lawns look 50% free of weeds. To get the best results however, it is recommended to do two applications. After two applications, there will be some weeds that will not be affected, and others may grow back, but the lawns will look 70 to 80% cleaner than if left untreated.
Aerating your lawn on an annual basis is recommended if you wish to have a lush, green and healthy lawn. This service is normally performed in late winter or very early spring, but fall aeration is also recommended for high traffic areas and for heavily compacted lawns.
Core aeration involves perforating the soil either mechanically (by machine for larger lawn areas) or physically (by hand aerator for small areas not easily accessed by machine). This activity results in ‘plugs’ of soil being removed from the lawn which are then left on the surface to dissolve and filter back into the ground. The holes allow the surrounding soil to shift, thereby alleviating compaction. This better allows water, air and nutrients to reach the root zone of your lawn so that it can grow more vigorously and better fend off pests such as the European Chafer. Lime is also applied at this time to adjust the pH of the soil to a more favourable balance for the grass since we live in an inherently acidic climate on the west coast.