Begone Leatherjackets and Chafer Grubs!19th September 2018 • Timely Advice • Daniel Carruthers
An email reminder from Nematodes Direct and the purchase of a discounted hose-end nematode applicator at the local garden centre reminded me that now is the time to apply these biological controls to avoid foxes digging up the lawn in search of juicy morsels. My lawn is about as far from a perfect green sward as you can get – there are as many daisies and dandelions as there is grass and in the shady areas it is mainly mind-your-own-business (Soleirolia soleirolii). But it is green and flat and is scattered with daisies, which is all I really require from a lawn. However, last autumn the fox dug numerous holes in it leaving it looking more like an archaeological dig than a lawn and I’m determined to stop this happening this year.
My ‘To Do’ List
- The first thing I did was order the nematodes – they arrived in the post a couple of days later and were put in the fridge to await application.
- Next job was to scarify the lawn. This is a good time of year to do this whether or not you are applying nematodes – it gets rid of all the dead thatch in the grass and aerates the lawn. My scarifier is basically a rake with spikes on it and is all I need for my small lawn – larger lawn might need something mechanical – but I tell myself that doing the job by hand is great exercise for the stomach muscles. The dead grass that is collected goes on the compost heap.
- The lawn must be damp when you apply nematodes so a day of rain created the perfect conditions – once the rain had stopped.
- Using the hose-end applicator was an absolute doddle. In the past I’ve found applying nematodes with a sprayer, or using a watering can with a large rose far from satisfactory. No matter how thoroughly I stirred in the nematode mix, it always clogged up. No such problem this time.
- I tipped the nematodes into the applicator bottle, topped it up with water and gave it a good stir.
- Then it was simply a matter of attaching the hose – it couldn’t have been more straightforward. I sprayed on the nematodes until the applicator bottle was empty.
- I then gave the lawn a further soak with plain water to help wash the nematodes into the turf.
- It is important that the lawn does not dry out for two weeks after application, so I am watering the lawn regularly unless it rains.
- I applied the chafer grub nematodes last week and have just followed the same method for the leatherjackets.