Chafer Grubs are garden grubs which can cause severe damage to lawns or any grassed area. The small brown Chafer Beetle is harmless and will not cause any damage to your beloved lawn. However, the grubs – which are the larvae of the Chafer Beetle – can be extremely destructive.
Chafer Grubs cause damage to lawns by feeding (often unnoticed) on the root structure of the grass itself. The problem is usually only detected when natural predators such as badgers or birds tear up the weakened turf. The grubs can also be discovered when renovation work is being carried out on the failing lawn.
Chafer Grubs can go undetected for a long time, with the lawn gradually becoming weaker due to the grubs feeding on the roots. The first sign of an infestation is usually when natural predators start tearing up the lawn to get to the grubs. It is fairly easy to check for signs of the grub by tearing back the weakened turf to a depth of approximately 2 inches. The grubs will be present just under the surface and can be identified as fleshy white grubs with brown/orange heads, growing up to 3 cm long. In general, lawns on sandy or light soil tend to be more susceptible than those on heavier soils.
Leatherjackets are the larvae of the crane fly, who are more commonly known as the daddy long legs. Unfortunately, these little critters cause similar damage to lawns, in very much the same way as chafer grubs do.
As we go from winter into spring we should be regularly checking our lawns for signs of leather jacket larvae damage. An infestation can utterly destroy a lawn so reducing the potential for damage by checking for grubs during the winter months through to the spring is recommended. Leather jackets range in size between 1-3cm, are a blackish/brown colour, and can easily go unnoticed as they live just under the surface until they emerge as adult crane flies during August-October. The primary source of food for leather jacket larvae is the roots and stems of grass, so they really love lawns. Having these black grubs munch away at those roots can badly stress the grass, making it wither and deteriorate.
Ants are often a problem on many lawns over the summer. The ants normally do not kill the grass directly, but their excavations bring soil to the surface and eventually build mounds. These raised areas can be scalped by the mower, leading to bald patches and the nests often dry out quickly causing stress to the grasses growing above. To avoid mounds being built up it is best to rake or brush the loose soil out over the lawn when dry. Controlling ants in a lawn is very difficult as there are currently no reliable products available to control ants in lawns.