A chemical lawn is treated for grub control twice a year…For life! An organic lawn can be grub free in just one season! I’ve been maintaining properties organically for 10 years now. When I started I promised myself not to use any chemical fertilizer, and to treat each garden as it if was my own. I want to make sure that the gardens I maintain are safe for me, my dog and everybody else who enjoys them. I have to say, some yards were more challenging than others. The biggest challenge is how to control weeds. And probably the second biggest problem for a homeowner are grubs.
Is there an organic way to control grubs?
Today, my neighbor had a chemical company spray his lawn for grubs. I, on the other hand haven’t done a thing to treat my lawn. For the most part, I haven’t seen any damage done on my lawn by neither skunks eating grubs, nor grubs eating the roots of the grass.
I’ve been asked many times why is that my lawn doesn’t suffer from grubs, or skunk damage, because I don’t use any chemicals to kill those grubs. The answer is simple. I use compost. Good compost should have microbes, and good compost should also have nematodes. Nematodes feed on parasitic bacteria. This parasitic bacteria feed on grubs, and the nematodes will eat the bacteria. Having a healthy soil, will keep a balanced population of different microbes. In other words, you take care of the soil, and in return, the microbiology will take care of the diseases, improve soil texture, and provide all the necessary nutrients for the plants to grow. My neighbor is going to keep using chemical fertilizers to feed the grass, chemical pesticides to kill weeds and pests several times a year, every year, for life.
Organically, you feed the soil. You take care of the soil, fix the problems instead of the symptoms. So, what can you do to fix the grub problem? Find a good source of compost, and spread it at a rate of 10 yards per acre. That will improve the soil texture, bring microbiology back, replenish your soil with additional nutrients, and will bring the soil pH closer to 7.
You will need to spread compost or compost tea just once on your property, and as long as you follow and organic maintenance program. Apply seed at a rate of 2-4lbs/1000sf, and apply organic fertilizer to feed the microbes. The live cycle of the Japanese beetle is relatively short, so the window of opportunity to apply products is also short. Japanese female insects lay their eggs 2 to 3 inches into the soil by late Summer. The eggs hatch, they will turn into grubs, grow quickly and by late September are almost full-sized . When the soil cools to about 60°F in the fall, the grubs begin to move deeper. Grubs will spend the winter between 10 to 12” below the surface. When the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees, grubs will start feeding again. This happens around the beginning of May. By the end of June the grubs turn into beetles, and the whole process repeats itself.
Organic grub control is easy. Just keep a healthy soil, and let the nematodes do the work. Chemically, there is no other option than use grub control to kill them.
So which program is more expensive?