Getting rid of garlic mustard and grubs

May 06, 2010|By Ellen Nibali | Special to The Baltimore Sun

Question: Last year a wild flower appeared in my yard with little white flowers and was about 2 feet tall. Well, this year it’s coming up all over the place! What is it and do I need to be worried?

Answer:Yes, stop this plant right now. Garlic mustard is invasive and takes over our parks and woods. A biennial, during its first year it grows under the radar, producing only a small cluster of scalloped leaves. The second year it shoots up multiple flower stalks 1-2 feet tall. Its flowers and skinny explosive seed pods grow at the same time. When you pull it, don't leave the plant on the ground because seeds will continue to ripen. Bag and dispose of it. Because you already have flowering plants, your garlic mustard has been around at least two years. Don't let it produce any more seeds! Seeds stay alive in the soil for a few years, but if you keep pulling consistently, you can use up all the seeds in the soil and be garlic mustard free.

Question:When do I put down grub killer in the spring?

Answer:You want it in the soil when grubs are small. They start hatching in July. However, do not put it down too far in advance. Yes, grubs look big in spring, but they are barely eating then and not damaging your lawn. Don’t waste your money on these grubs. Also, applying grub killer too early sickens the wasps that are predators of grubs. You've probably seen these beneficial wasps hovering over your lawn, looking for grubs. In fact, natural controls usually keep grub populations low. Rarely is lawn damage caused by grubs. Unless your lawn has dead patches that roll up like a carpet and has over a dozen grubs per square foot, they are not the culprit of lawn problems. Fungal disease, for instance, is often blamed on grubs. A few grubs are normal.

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