Handle The Grubby Details

Garden notes

April 21, 1991

Grubs are munching away at the roots of your turf. Don't panic. Withcool spring temperatures, grasses grow rapidly and recover well fromgrub feeding. The grubs are large and are nearing their pupal stage,the end of their feeding frenzy. In due time, the grubs will emerge and become those pesty adults.

The adult Japanese beetles, for alltheir damage to roses and fruit, do not damage turf. They lay their eggs in the lawn in late June or early July. By August these eggs hatch, which means young larvae feasting on the roots of your lawn untilthe cold winter weather drives them into the soil.

Milky spore is an excellent biological control procedure to solveJapanese Beetle grub problems in turf. Milky spore is a bacterium that colonizes the grub while it feeds on the turf roots. The bacteriumkills the grubs, then is released to recolonize other grubs.

The establishment period for milky spore is slow, usually a couple of years. Once established, the control is truly long-term, up to 20 to 30 years.

Some grubs must be present for the bacterium to get established. An interim treatment of chemical products for grub control is counterproductive, as it eliminates those grubs needed for initial colonization.


For those blessed with oaks, the shade is unsurpassed and the gypsy moth relentless. The oak may be mighty, but only two years of defoliation can turn it into firewood. One simple methods of protecting the oak is the use of sticky tapes.

Sticky tape should be placed on the tree early in the spring.As the young feeding larvae crawl up the tree, they will adhere to the tape and eventually die. With a heavy population, the tape may need to be replaced as larvae cover it.

Want to know more? Call 1-800-342-2507. Twenty-four hour pretaped messages are available on gypsy moth control and spray programs. A gypsy moth consultant is availableto answer your questions or provide free publications in the mornings, Mondays through Fridays.


Flipping through catalogs or simply browsing the seed racks can make a gardener buy. A little of this, a little of that, and soon an arm full of packages will grow into a yard full of vegetables and flowers.

Setting up a seed-starting nursery in the corner of a room or the basementcan be a wonderful educational experience for youngsters. Start witha heating mat to provide bottom heat. Most seeds respond to a 70 to 80 degree germination temperature.

Unless the light is perfect, supplement your lighting with a 40-watt florescent tube or grow light over the seedling at 6 to 8 inches above the plants.

A germination tray with dividers is also a good idea. Not only do the divisions isolate any disease organism that may befall your seedlings, but it eliminates that frustrating mixing of seed types that inevitably occurs when germinating 30 different varieties in a 1-foot by 2-foot space.

Once the seedlings germinate, transplant to the final container. A 2-inch by 2-inch pot works well, but any well-drained soil in any container size is fine. Smaller containers simply allow more of a good thing in limited space.

These tips were provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service.

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