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Your lawn is a living ecosystem brimming with biodiversity, and although some of its inhabitants are typically too small to see, there may be noticeable changes to your grass that make you wonder if some of your guests may have overstayed their welcome!
Here’s some of the most common lawn pests you’ll find and what you can do if you come across them:
Worms / Wormcasts
Most people recognise that worms in your soil are a good
thing and are a sign of a healthy lawn (and they’re correct!) – worms help to improve
the drainage in your lawn (less flooding) and are also great at recycling the
nutrients within your soil. Unfortunately, worms get a little full up eating
all those nutrients and may decide to hit the eject button on your lawn,
leaving worm casts on the surface. Worm casts are harmless apart from their appearance,
leaving brown piles of soil on top of your green grass. If it doesn’t bother
you too much, you can just let the worms work away. If you’re not a fan of
their little abstract works of art however, you can brush the worm casts away
on a dry day – avoid doing this when it is raining.
Leatherjackets really are the lawn lover’s arch enemy, and unlike worms – do not offer any helping hand with your lawn care. In fact, they make it ten times harder! Leatherjackets are the larvae (eggs) of daddy long legs (crane flies). Daddy long legs will lay their eggs on your lawn and warm and wet conditions will cause the eggs to hatch. You won’t know this, of course, until you notice odd parts of your lawn begin to turn yellow and die off. This is the results of the leatherjackets eating the roots of your grass.
Yellowing grass can be a sign of other issues, but there is a quick way to test your turf to see if leatherjackets are the root of the problem. Pull back some of your grass to reveal the soil, if you can see something like the below photo (sorry in advance!) then it looks like you have leatherjackets. It’s not great news but you can get rid of them using a natural treatment called Nemasys, make sure to read the instructions on the packet before use. If you'd like to learn how to get rid of leatherjackets and how to prevent them in the future, you can read our blog on this here.
Leatherjackets aren’t exactly lookers, and unfortunately chafer grubs aren’t either. Sorry. Just as unhelpful as leatherjackets, chafer grubs eat away at the roots of your grass causing the blades to yellow / brown from the bottom up. This also weakens your grass, so if chafer grubs have moved into your lawn you will be able to pull away parts of your grass easily. Same rules apply, and by pulling back the turf in your lawn you’ll be able to check if these greedy grass grubs have invited themselves to your garden party. Just like leatherjackets, chafer grubs can be treated with the same Nemasys product – as said, make sure to read the instructions before use.
If you find small heaps of soil appearing on top of your lawn leaving you scratching your head, you may discover that you have ants in your lawn. Now, ants are probably one of the last pests you would be worried about and aside from these heaps of soil they won’t be much trouble. If the ants are ruining your lawn aesthetic, you can brush the soil mounds out on a dry day to be level with the rest of your lawn. If you have children or pets and are concerned that some of the ants in your lawn might be harmful contact an ant specialist and do not attempt to remove the ants yourself.
Whilst worms may create a little pile of soil on your lawn, moles will make their presence known by leaving a massive one! Before a mound appears you may notice ridge patterns in your lawn that are a sign that moles are tunnelling underneath the surface. This may make your lawn surface uneven, and while moles can certainly be a nuisance - they are ultimately harmless and are also a protected species. With this in mind, there isn't much you can do once moles arrive - but there are a few things you can do more regularly to put them off setting up home in your lawn. Just like us, moles like peace and quiet while they burrow searching for food so regular lawn mowing will act as a natural deterrent.
If you haven't been able to identify pests in your lawn but still think there's something strange a foot, why not check out our blogs below to see if they can help solve your issue.