Got Grubs?!

Grubs can become a real problem for gardeners, particularly at this time of year when they are active.  While some people prefer to leave these little larvae to their own devices (they are a great source of food for birds, for example), there are also a variety of non-toxic options for those of you who want to keep your flowers grub-free.

Here’s a few alternatives from Garden Design Magazine readers that may help:

  1. Nematodes.  These beneficial worms kill grubs and other soil-swelling insects, making them a great addition to your garden. Now is the perfect time to apply nematodes, as Spring and Fall are typically when grubs are most active (and therefore most likely to chow down on your plants!).  Be careful not to apply any fertilizer for at least two weeks after you apply the nematodes, as high nitrogen levels can be damaging.
  2. Milky Spore Disease.  The naturally occurring Bacillus popilliae affects beetle larvae, killing grubs without negative effects on your garden and multiplying through infected grubs to keep numbers down.  While milky spore can last 15-20 years when established, the downside is that it can take 1-3 years to become fully effective.  If milky spore sounds like the perfect solution, why not use nematodes in the meantime until it reaches full effectiveness?
  3. Birds.  Attracting birds to your garden can have all kinds of beneficial consequences, one of which being a reduction in grubs, bugs and slugs which are prime food for our feathered friends.  Read our recent post about attracting birds to your garden to prime your yard for this great natural pest-controller!
  4. Organic Fertilizer.  Some people have reported success in reducing grub numbers by using fertilizer once or twice per year.  Be careful which fertilizer you choose, though, as synthetic varieties can harm beneficial insects such as nematodes.

Have you got any special tricks you use to rid your garden of grubs?  Comment below and let us know!

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