How do I get rid of leatherjackets?

How do I get rid of leatherjackets?

How do I get rid of leatherjackets?

How do I get rid of leatherjackets?
Ah leatherjackets in your lawn, the lawn-lovers arch enemy. These pesky pests will make their way into your lawn almost without you noticing – until random yellow dead patches appear in your lawn!

Leatherjackets in your lawn may temporarily make your garden grass unsightly, but you can get it back from their grubby clutches and learn how to get rid of leatherjackets with our guide.

What are leatherjackets?

Unless you’ve had them before, it’s highly unlikely that you happen to know what leatherjackets are and you probably don't know how to get rid of leatherjackets either. In short, they’re grey and mousy brown grubs that eat at the roots of your grass, causing it to die off. They go mostly unnoticed as they begin their lives as eggs laid by crane flies (daddy long legs), and it takes a perfect storm of hot and wet weather to cause them to hatch. This happens in random patches because only some crane fly eggs will hatch, and once fully grown at the larvae stage they will begin to eat the grass around them.

How do I know if I have leatherjackets in my lawn?

Here at HQ, we don’t have enough bad words to say about leatherjackets. But do you know who does love them? Birds! Yes, if you have leatherjackets in your lawn there’s a good chance a bird is pecking at your lawn looking for a bit of extra protein in their diet.  Otherwise, telltale signs are yellow patches in your lawn when the rest of the lawn is in good condition. A quick test of pulling back a bit of turf will soon reveal whether you have them, as they will be easily visible.

How do I get rid of leatherjackets?

You won’t find the cure on supermarket shelves as the solution is actually a living one. Nematodes are microscopic (teeny tiny!) bacterial worms that can kill off leatherjackets, and because of this, they actually need to be refrigerated when purchased. Think of them like sea-monkeys for adults! When mixed with water and sprayed on the affected area, they’ll set to work killing off the leatherjackets in your lawn. With any product, make sure to read the instructions carefully and follow every step.

How do I repair the damage?

Once you’re confident your visitors are gone, you can set about repairing the damage they’ve left. Depending on how long they’ve been terrorising your lawn for, there are two options you can consider.

Affected area is very small, grass is yellowing

If you catch them and kill them off early enough, the damage leatherjackets do to your lawn can be minimal, but these affected areas will need a little bit of TLC to get them back to their best. A quick greening feed such as our Oh So Green will thicken up your grass and give it a super-fast boost of greenness and nutrients. Sprinkle when wearing a glove over the affected area, and don’t exceed the recommended application rate of 32g per m2. Water the lawn food granules in well and wait for them to disappear off your lawn's surface.

Affected area is large, grass is yellowing / brown and can be easily pulled out

If you’ve discovered your leatherjacket issue a little too late, then a quick feed may not solve this for you. Instead, you’ll need to do some repairs. Here’s how to do it;

  1. Remove all dead grass in the area, you can do this by raking the area (scarifying)
  2. If this has left this patch uneven to the rest of your lawn, add some topsoil
  3. Rake the topsoil to level. If you haven’t used topsoil, rake your existing soil to really rough it up to help your new seed embed well
  4. Sow your seed at a rate of 50g per m2 with grass seed that is fit for purpose. Scatter lengthways and widthways to get good coverage, rake the seed into the soil and firm it down by foot.
  5. Water the repaired area once a day, every day, for the first six weeks after sowing – you can avoid doing this when it is raining.

What grass seed should I use to repair leatherjacket damage?

The best grass seed you can use to repair these patches is one that is fit for purpose. For a fast-growing hardwearing lawn, consider our Fast Grow Family Lawn or Tough Stuff Lush Lawn. For a lawn with clay soils, you should opt for New Build Dream Lawn. Shaded lawns require specialist seeds found in our Shade Supreme Lawn, and if you want a fine ornamental lawn, you should try Super Fine Luxury Lawn.