Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Organic control of lawn grubs

A lawn loveheart ooh - some people know how to be romantic!

Lawn beetles in the lawn.

Some lawns can be decimated by lawn beetles or lawn grubs. our worst experience of it was the first couple of years we after we moved into the house. the lawn was quite badly effected. Now we seem to get some each year but after a dose of an organic treatment they don't persist. I'm not sure if it's just the treatment or wether there are also some predators in the lawn that may control them.

 Well you will most likely not see any beetles because it is actually their larvae that do the damage on the lawn. you will notice patches of short grass that seem to have been chewed. if you dig down through the grass there are these green larvae curled up on the surface with a lot of poo around them.
What to do?
there are some organic methods which i use and seem to be successful.
The first is Dipel bacterial culture which you spray on the grass. when the grubs eat it they perish as bacteria multply in their gut. it is only harmful to insects.

The second one i have used is Derris dust or Rotenone. This is made from the crushed and dried roots of a tropical vine. It works on all manner of caterpillars and seems to also work on lawn grubs. it is short lasting and is best applied in the evening as it breaks down in sunlight. It is very toxic to fish so keep away from ponds.

I haven't found any of these work on grasshoppers by the way.

I feel as if i have to justify having a lawn - so here goes
It's my wife's fault - i have tried bargainng away bits for this or that, planting fruit trees in it etc but it seems like a bit of a sacred cow.
So there we have it. It keeps the peace. i have heard other people say that too but something needs to be said about being green and the colour green. When you live in such a harsh place you need to create an enticing and less harsh environment around you. I have known people who rented poor quality housing to have a terrible experience of Alice Springs beacause they could never go outside. Needless to say they never became long term residents.

The first house I lived in in Alice Springs was a house on dirt with no outside living areas. When it rained you had to stay inside rather than sitting under a verandah and enjoying it. When you dropped the washing it got dirty and when you hung the washing meat ants attacked your feet. Some investment in connecting with the outdoor environnment is needed and sometimes that means a lawn - especially if you have kids. Of course there are alternatives. We changed the front lawn into a native garden years ago because we didn't use the area and it wasn't growing well anyway.

The good points to our lawn is that it is well used, we cut it for animal feed in summer. There is a great cooling effect also around the house. The lawn only gets water 2 times a week and this is cut down to once a week in winter and for a much shorter time as the grass is not growing. It gets fertilised with organic fertilisers a couple of times a year and they say a well cared for lawn looks better and uses less water.

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