My name is Gary Heilig, and I am the horticulture
educator for Michigan State University Extension Ingham County I’m here with Dave Smitley from the
department of entomology here at the university, and
today we’re going to talk a little bit about grubs. And, Dave, it was a strange year last
year, and what effect did the weather have on
grub populations? Well, with the drought we had last year the lawns are really stressed so they’re
not very dense, they’re thin and the root system is weak, and that
makes them susceptible to grubs. Now, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that over the years people have been asking, “How can I control grubs, but not have to use pesticides?” Is that
possible to do? It is! It is if you have a strong,
dense turf with a good root system you don’t
really need an insecticide to protect against grubs. And it’s not that hard to do.
You raise the mowing height up to the highest setting on your mower, you just fertilize two to
four times a year, and water when during dry periods and
that will build up a dense turf root system that will be
tolerant at grubs. Now when you say a high mowing height,
lot of times people are used to going and say about two inches. Does the lawn look any different when you
have a high mowing height? It looks a little different but it looks good. If you go to the highest setting — that’s
about three and a half inches — and it really is good so people
should try it because it makes a much stronger turf.
Now, you mentioned fertility, how much of an effect will that have in terms of being able to fight the grubs?
Well, you don’t really need as much fertilizer
as most people think for the root system. So, just two to four times a year is
plenty. Two pounds of nitrogen is enough and that’ll give you a dense root
system. When you add more than that, your grass
will be greener, it’ll look greener, so all you’re really
doing is making it look better when you go beyond two times a year. Now, if you want to be a smart
gardener you’re certainly going to run a soil test the find out what other nutrients you might need besides nitrogen. Yeah, absolutely, and then you can adjust
your fertilizer according to that. Now you mention watering. How often are
we going to have to water? How much are we going to water? How much water is going to depend on how much rain we
get. So it if we get into a dry period were goes a week or two weeks without any rain you’re
going to need the water about one inch put on about one inch of water per
week. Uh-huh. and you can tell how to do that
pretty easily just by setting some coffee mugs out in your lawn, and when you fill the coffee mug up to
one inch level that’s one inch of water and that’s all
you need each week even during the driest period. So smart
gardeners can actually control grubs without using pesticides You don’t need pesticides. You just
raise the mowing height, you water during dry periods and use moderate till for fertility.