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Sum­mer lawn pests

Gardening Australia - - YOUR PLANNER -

Dead patches in sum­mer lawns are dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose but they are of­ten caused by in­sect pests eat­ing the grass leaves or roots. In warmer coastal ar­eas, the most com­mon leaf eater is the army­worm, a cater­pil­lar that comes in huge num­bers and can de­vour a lawn al­most overnight. Put a piece of damp towel or card­board on the edge of the eaten patch and check be­neath it in the morn­ing. Dis­pose of any shel­ter­ing grubs, or treat the area with an or­ganic pes­ti­cide.

If birds are peck­ing at or near dead patches of loose grass, the cul­prit could be bee­tle lar­vae (above), also known as curl grubs, munch­ing on the grass roots. Add some dish­wash­ing de­ter­gent and tea-tree oil to a bucket filled with wa­ter and pour it over the af­fected area to drive the grubs to the sur­face, where the birds can pick them up. Avoid leav­ing out­door lights on at night, as these at­tract the bee­tles. Ne­ma­todes are com­mer­cially avail­able for bi­o­log­i­cal con­trol.

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