Not the famous Beatles seen in the new movie YESTERDAY, the infamous Japanese Beetle seen in lawns and gardens for most of the same decades.
What does Bob think of when Japanese Beetles are mentioned? Worst case scenarios like the lawn we renovated one Autumn, many moons ago…
Japanese Beetle larva — commonly known as C-shaped white grubs — ravage home lawns by chewing-off the grass roots and leaving loose, brown sod that pulls up easily. Sometimes raccoons will discover a turfgrass area infested with grubs, and do extensive additional damage, by going after those tasty morsels by rolling-up large areas of sod… just ask a golf course superintendent if that ever happened to one of their fairways.
Photos above: We noticed how loosely this turf was rooted, while doing a Fall lawn aeration. Sure enough, the lawn was infested with Japanese Beetle grubs!
Most Japanese Beetle controls are focused on the larva, or grub stage, as they are first developing in late summer and early fall, since they are most vulnerable to grub controls at that time.
Biological controls include milky spore bacteria, parasitic nematodes and Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae (Btg), while lawn care companies typically offer an optional (chemical) grub control application, in addition to their annual fertilizer applications, for an extra fee.
A heavy thatch layer can act as an umbrella, preventing grub controls from reaching their target, so pay close attention to proper lawn irrigation following any application.
By keeping lawn thatch to a minimum, you will also deny grubs that protective cover they love so much. Core aeration should be performed once or twice a year (leave the soil cores in place to breakdown) with Fall as the preferred time for a single annual lawn aeration.
Core aeration should be performed at least once a year in the Fall, and going over the lawn more than once increases the benefits. Aeration twice a year — Spring & Fall — is the gold standard. Learn more about lawn aeration here.