5 Signs of Grub Damage in Your Lawn

While grubs may not be as conspicuous as other pests, one shouldn't underestimate their potential for damage. These lawn pests are usually found a few inches below the soil surface, where they silently devastate your landscape by feeding on grass roots. Often, their destruction remains unnoticed until significant damage has occurred. This ultimately weakens your lawn, creating an open invitation for additional issues.


Recognizing the signs of grub infestation is essential for effective grub control and timely repair to maintain a healthy lawn. Continue reading as we share insights into identifying grub damage in your lawn, allowing you to take proactive measures for control. We also share tips on how to restore your lawn using grass plugs.

What are Grubs?

Determining the underlying cause of lawn damage is the crucial first step in restoring its health and appearance. Lawn grubs are the larval stage of various beetle species, such as the Japanese beetle, June beetle, and European chafer. Despite their different adult forms, these grubs look similar, with their white bodies and legs near their heads. They also share a common defensive behavior of curling into a C shape when disturbed.

Grubs are mostly dormant in winter, hiding deep in the soil until warmer weather triggers their activity. They become active again in spring, feeding on grass roots, leaves, and other organic matter.

Understanding Grub Life Cycle

As lawn grubs mature into adult beetles, they emerge from the soil to mate and lay eggs in the soil. Adult beetles have a lifespan of 1-3 years, producing new grubs that continue to damage lawns, continuing the infestation.

Identifying white grubs and understanding their life cycles is crucial for effective grub control. Knowing when and where they are actively feeding allows you to carry out targeted strategies for killing grubs and protecting your lawn from further damage.


Grub Infestation Signs and Symptoms

While a few grubs are normal on most lawns, an infestation can damage your grass plants significantly. As grubs feed on the roots, they can weaken your grass, losing its ability to hold onto the soil and causing sections of your grass to lift up like newly laid sod.

Because of the damaged root system, your lawn can have a soft, spongy texture underfoot. Additionally, without the ability to access water and nutrients, a grub-damaged grass may wilt and turn brown, resulting in unsightly dead patches across your lawn.

Yellow Grass: Grubs feed on the roots, weakening your lawn and causing the grass to turn yellow and feel spongy underfoot.

Dead Grass: In severe cases, grub feeding can also lead to patches of dead or dying grass that appear brown and patchy.

Drought-Like Damage: Lawns with grub damage may look dry and withered despite regular watering.

Burrowing Animals: Grub infestations may attract animals like possums, skunks, and raccoons to your lawn, as grubs are their food source.

Increased Moth or Beetle Activity: Moths or beetles flying close to the grass may indicate that they are laying eggs, leading to more grubs hatching on your lawn.

How to Control Grubs in Your Lawn

Addressing grub damage effectively requires integrated pest management that implements conventional grub control methods and lawn care practices. A broad-spectrum pesticide can effectively control grubs, while proper lawn care practices such as aerating and dethatching can improve your soil structure and make it less hospitable to them, thus preventing future re-infestation.

A lawn damaged by grubs may appear lackluster, with dead spots and brown grass. However, this presents an opportunity to rejuvenate your lawn with healthier, more resilient grass.


Fixing a Grub-Damaged Lawn with Grass Plugs

SodPods® grass plugs provide a practical solution for lawn repair or establishment. They are more cost-effective than sod and establish faster than seeds due to their mature root systems. This allows you to skip the lengthy process of cultivating grass from seeds and take advantage of various benefits, such as using less water for establishment. This results in a healthy, dense lawn that is more resistant to pests and weeds in a shorter time.

After planting grass plugs, it's essential to maintain regular watering to keep the soil moist for the first two weeks to help them establish. After this initial period, transition to your regular lawn care routine, watering at least once a week, depending on your grass type. For example, warm-season varieties like Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine grass plugs require at least one inch of water per week. Adjust watering based on weather conditions, avoiding excessive watering after heavy rainfall and increasing watering on particularly hot days.

For more information on grass plugs and lawn care, visit the Try SodPods® website.


Jamie Tedder

Jamie surrently serve as Vice President on the board for Turfgrass Producers of Florida. He currently oversees the production of all grasses throughout all farms in Florida at Bethel Farms. He is actively working with top grass breeders, researchers, producers and end users from public and private institutions around the country to stay up to date on current industry developments. Being a University of Florida graduate, he has applied that knowledge to over 22 years of experience growing spectacular grass!

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