Spotting Grubs in Your Yard Before It’s Too Late

dying grass, grubsGrubs are a quiet enemy of a healthy lawn. Voracious eaters, grubs live beneath the surface of unsuspecting lawns. Also aggressive multipliers, grubs will continue to reproduce and inflict ever-increasing damage.  Because they live below ground, homeowners are unlikely to spot the invaders or catch them in the act. However, anyone who is paying careful attention can easily spot the evidence of grubs. Here are some signs that grubs are feasting on your grass.

Wilting Grass

Grubs live to feed on your grass. But they don’t eat the pretty green stems that you see above the surface. Therefore, you won’t see them crawling around on your lawn, and you also won’t see grass being chomped off by these pests. Instead they eat the roots. This means that all of the damage is occurring below the surface. Of course, this will affect the overall health of grass plants. What you will notice is grass that looks wilted or sick.

Brown Spots

If grubs continue to feast on your lawn, eventually grass will not just look sick or wilted. Eventually the grass will die. Death of grass will demonstrate itself with brown spots. Sometimes brown spots start out small and you can attack the pest before the problem becomes widespread.

Easily Removed Grass

Another consequence of grub infestation and the accompanying loss of roots is a steady weakening of grass plants. You probably don’t try to pull up your grass, but if you suspect grubs you might want to do just that in a small, inconspicuous area of your yard. If grubs are destroying the roots of your grass, clumps of the plants will be easily removed with your hands. Strong grass plants, on the other hand, will have dense root systems that keep them firmly anchored in the ground.

Increase of Animal Visitors

Finally, a dead give-away that you have grubs is an increase of animals coming to your yard to eat. Animals, including birds, moles, and racoons, are natural predators of grubs. If you have noticed flocks of birds frequently landing in your yard while ignoring your neighbor’s yard, you can be pretty sure that they are coming to feed on the pests feeding on your grass. On an even more unpleasant note, skunks also enjoy a meal of grubs. Now that is motivation to eradicate these pesky pests from your yard!

If you think you have a grub problem, Ping’s can help. Our lawn care division can make needed pest control applications or provide holistic lawn care which includes both fertilizer and pesticide treatments. Call us at 317-298-8482 to find out more about the services we offer.

Scale Insects Are a Real Nuisance!

Joe Boggs, The Ohio State University Extension

Honeydew produced by soft scales. (Joe Boggs, The Ohio State University Extension)

During these summer months, there are lots of things in the yard that demand your attention.  In addition to regular mowing, you may be busy with trimming, weeding, planting, mulching, and other assorted tasks.  But even while you are keeping everything looking nice, there may be a problem that is forming on your trees and shrubs without you even noticing.  Scale insects are so small that you may not notice their presence on a tree until they begin doing some real damage.

What Are Scale Insects?

Scale insects are a class of insects named for the protective scales that cover their bodies.  They are typical very small (up to 1/8 of an inch) and without any legs, they move quite slowly if at all.  Scale insects usually survive by finding a good spot along the veins of a leaf and sucking the sap from the leaf.  As long as the leaf continues to provide an adequate supply of sap, they will happily set up camp and stay.

How Do Scale Insects Harm Trees?

While this sounds like a nice arrangement for the scale insect, it doesn’t really work out so well for the tree or shrub.  A healthy tree produces a lot of sap and one scale insect probably wouldn’t do much damage.  However, like many pests, these insects reproduce rapidly and each new generation will find a comfy spot, usually on the same tree, and start sucking away.  The euonymus variety of scale insects can produce up to 3 generations each year!  A constant drain of sap will eventually take its toll on the tree or shrub.

What Other Adverse Effects Do Scale Insects Have?

In addition to putting stress on your trees, scale insects also make a mess in and under your trees.  As they are gorging themselves on sap, these little creatures are also excreting a sticky substance all over the leaves on which they live.  This substance, romantically known as honeydew, covers tree leaves as well as dropping onto the ground or anything else parked under the tree.  (The picture at the top right shows a leaf with honeydew.)  If left undisturbed, honeydew will often lead to the formation of a black sooty mold.

How Can Scale Insects Be Eliminated?

I’m sure you can see why no homeowner with a sound mind would want scale insects.   So what can you do to eliminate these tiny pests?  Due to the protective scale which covers these insects, they are often resistant to normal sprayed insecticides. Full-strength oil sprays may be applied directly to the tree’s leaves during dormant periods in an effort suffocate over-wintering egg masses. However, the timing of application is crucial to safe and effective elimination.  Oil sprays are usually applied in late winter or early spring and should not be applied to trees or shrubs that are fully leafed out.   The most effective and reliable method for getting rid of these pests is the use of systemic insecticides.

If you find that you have scale insects invading a tree, Ping’s Tree Service has the experience and expertise to take care of your problem.  With the mild winter we had this year, we have been seeing more of these sneaky little critters than usual.  But they are no match for our certified arborists.  Scales are not easy to displace once they have taken up residence, but Ping’s will do what it takes to send them packing.  Give us a call to schedule an appointment for a free consultation (317-298-8482).

Call Now Button