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Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Grasses

European Chafer Beetle or Rizotrogus majalis if you prefer the scientific name, is an introduced species that wreaks havoc on lawns. The grub itself likes to eat the roots of grasses but what often causes the most alarm in folks is the fact that Crows and Raccoons will tear apart what remains of your lawn in order to feast on this delicacy. Don’t panic. There is hope.

Rmajalislarvae

Rhizotrogus majalis1

What is a European Chafer Beetle

European Chafer Beetle is a coppery tan coloured little beetle just a little over 1 cm long. The adult grubs are twice as long, white with a brown head and 6 legs. They are curved into a “C” shape. They would make an excellent monster in a scary movie actually if they were a lot bigger. The grubs feed in fall and spring. The adult beetles mate in the evenings in May and the females lay 40-50 eggs each which hatch in July. An excellent way to determine if you have an infestation before the crows, raccoons and moles clue you in is to peel back a square foot of sod and examine the soil underneath. If you count 5-10 grubs in one square foot of lawn area, you have a problem. The grubs preferred food is grasses, if there is not enough available they will move to other fibrous rooted plants.

Prevention

Healthy lawns are better able to withstand some damage from small amounts of grubs. Irrigate deeply 2 to 3 times a week. Raise your mowing height. The female beetles prefer shorter, dryer lawns to lay their eggs in.

European Chafer Beetle Damage - city of Burnaby
Photo Attribution: City of Burnaby
http://www.burnaby.ca/City-Services/Policies--Projects---Initiatives/Environment/Green-Initiatives-and-Public-Education/European-Chafer-Turf-Pest.html

Recommended Control

If the crows, raccoons and moles have begun the control methods (aka ripping apart your lawn), let them finish feeding before you begin alternative methods of control. They are messy but effective and will knock down a huge percent of the population. Your next step is to apply Nematodes in July.

Specifically, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora. Nematodes are a naturally occurring organism. The Hererorhabditis bacteriophora is a nematode which moves through the soil. They are not harmful to humans, pets or other animals including bees and earthworms. They specifically target grubs. They infect grubs 48 hours after application and will kill them 2 weeks after infecting them. They must be applied to a wet lawn on a cloudy evening. Application on dry lawn or in full sun conditions will kill them. The water will keep the grubs toward the surface of the soil and will enable the nematodes to move more freely. You must keep your lawn moist for about a week after application. You may need to obtain a watering permit from your municipality.

To Order Nematodes:

  • Call us at 604.882.1201 to order/reserve Nematodes
  • or use our online Plant/Product Request Form (under the Contact Us menu item)

 

Chemical Control

There are also chemical methods to control the grubs. Chemical control will affect all soil organisms including earthworms and native bees and will also affect the animals that consume them. Check with your municipality BEFORE using a chemical control as many municipalities have banned the use of pesticides.

If your municipality allows chemical control of grubs and you are going to ignore the written equivalent of my deeply frowning face, you can apply pesticides such as Grub Out to your lawn according to directions, in the evening when there are no pollinators present. There are more than 400 species of native bees in BC and 70 percent of them live in the soil.

Please be careful of our pollinators and yourself if applying pesticides.

Once you have decreased the grub population to an acceptable amount, consider decreasing the lawn area with trees, shrubs or even an alternative ground cover such as micro clover or an eco-mix seed that contains some grass, low yarrow and clover. Our horticulturalists and designers are here to help. It may not be possible to maintain a golf green lawn, but it will be possible to come up with a solution that is good looking, healthy and one we can all live with.

More European Chafer Information Links


Sunday, April 13, 2014
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Grasses

In the spring Dave gets tons of questions about lawns. We thought we’d share…with Dave’s ok of course, some of his tips, tricks and timing to help you have a glorious lawn this year:

lawn care tips

Know thine soil…alright, those weren’t exactly Dave’s words but the idea is sound. It is important to know what type of soil your have, whether it is clay, sand, loam etc. You get the picture. Each soil type will have a different water and nutrient holding capacity. Dave especially recommends a PH test and be sure to take the soil sample around the 2 inch mark so you have an accurate reading around the root zone of your lawn.

Generally in the Pacific Northwest, we get a lot of rainfall which tends to leach the nutrients and often results in a low PH or Acidic soil. Optimal PH for lawn is around 6.5-7.0 (which is slightly acidic to neutral). If your lawn is either too acidic or too alkaline, it isn’t able to take up the nutrients as well…kind of like putting a kink in a straw when you are trying to drink. Once you know what you are dealing with here are Dave’s steps:

  • Apply Dolopril Lime - (optional if your PH is optimum…yes, I AM a bit jealous).
  • Wait, yes, wait for 2-3 weeks. When dealing with lawns, patience is key to avoid compaction, stress (for you and the lawn) and wasting your money by applying fertilizer/moss killer etc. before your lawn can absorb it!
  • Apply a good quality, slow release starter fertilizer. We are really proud of our Triple 17+Iron and the Scotts products are pretty good too.
  • Wait at least 1 week.
  • Apply Moss Control – (optional if you don’t have moss…probably the same guy that has the perfect PH!). Read the label on the moss control, the optimum temperature is above 10 degrees Celsius and for most products you need it to be dry for 2 days after application!
  • Aerate / Topdress / Overseed. You don’t have to do this every year if your lawn is satisfactory but if you do wish to do it, it is more effective when the ground is well drained and the night time temperatures are warmer.
  • Notice Dave didn’t say dethatch. If you have thatch, see Step 6. Aerating, topdressing is far more effective at breaking through the thatch layer. Though dethatching looks dramatic, your friendly neighbourhood aerator is your best bet for your money.
  • Second application of a good quality, slow release fertilizer in late spring, early summer.
  • Weed control – either manual treatment, there are some great back saving tools out there or spot application if desired. Notice we didn’t say weed and feed, weed and feed doesn’t do a particularly good job of either. (FYI Weed & Feed is no longer available in our market.)
  • Apply a good quality slow release Fall fertilizer, one that has a low nitrogen number and no you cannot use spring fertilizer for this step. This is one of Dave’s favorite things even if you only get to it every second year, it really gives your lawn a strong boost when the air temp is cooler but the ground is still warm and the grass roots are growing.

This should help to clarify some of the steps and timing intervals that may have mystified you in the past…they certainly mystified me! If you have more questions about your lawn or about when to start fresh, come in and see Dave, if he’s not up to his eyebrows in mud or using his secret Ninja tractor repair skills (and especially if he IS up to his eyebrows in mud) he would be glad to answer your questions!


Monday, March 10, 2014
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

That was an interesting end to February!! It’s been a while since I’ve gone tobogganing and gotten snow down my jacket!! It was a bit awesome and I'm happy to see the soil again.

My snowdrops have already come and gone and the crocus are just poking up from the soil. I am excited to redesign my front garden and organize my back yard. I’ve gone through a lot of rough copies.

snowdrops

It will be an adventure…on a budget pilfered from my fancy coffee allowance. I apologize in advance for any caffeine deficit grumpiness. So before the snow is completely melted away I raise my last mug of fancy coffee and say…Ladies and Gentleman…start your engines!!! The 2014 gardening season is nigh and here is your list:

muddy grass

Lawns

Play it by ear, tromping on soggy turf will compact it. Once your ground is a bit drier, you can lime, aerate and top- dress with topsoil, or coarse sand. Towards the end of the month, beginning of April, you can think about fertilizing with a good slow release fertilizer like Arts 17-17-17 + Iron.

You can play that by ear too. Waiting to give it a light fertilizing until after you have to give it that first trim, is a good rule of thumb used by many lawn care experts.

Looking outside my window right now it’s hard to believe that mowing is right around the corner.

Here are some lawn cutting tips to get you on the right path:

  • Use a sharp mower blade (you can sharpen it or take it in to be sharpened)
  • never reduce the height of your lawn by more than 1/3 at any one time
  • a slightly taller mowing height will allow for more deeply rooted grass
  • leave the clippings, grass clippings do not cause thatch and leaving them when you cut will reduce your need for watering and fertilizing by up to 80%.

If you want to learn more tips and tricks, we’ll have a lawns 101 class taught by our grass whisperer Dave on March 30th. Call 604.882.1201 to register.

Garden Beds

Same rule for avoiding soggy soil applies, no matter how excited you are about digging in your garden. Once the soil dries out you can do some weeding, perennial dividing or move some stuff around.

You can do a lot of planning and daydreaming while it’s raining outside, like I am. Take note of emerging bulbs. You can do some topdressing and a light fertilizing by the end of the month or early April. Compost is golden.

new plants at arts - camellia pink a boo

New Plants

It’s a great time to check out the new plants at Art's Nursery! It is a good idea to treat it like grocery shopping and make a bit of a list because sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. Make sure you think about the areas you want to add plants to and when you will most likely be looking at them.

Seeding

It is a great time to start seeds indoors to get a jump on the season. If you are new to this, we just had our seed starting 101 classes on Saturday the 8th with Kayla our seed guru! If there is more interest, we can always offer this seminar again. Let us know. Check out our other upcoming seminars too!

summer bulbs - dahlias | cannas | gladiolus | lily

Summer Bulbs

Inspect any stored bulbs and discard any rotten ones. Now is a good time to organize and plan your plantings. Art's has a great selection at this time. While it's ok to plant some now, wait for the warmer weather for bulbs like Dahlias. 

Trees and Shrubs

It’s a great time to cut some branches for indoor forcing from Forsythia, Flowering Plum or Cherry. And a great time to enjoy the blooms on Skimmia, Hellebores, Cornus mas, Viburnum bodnantense and the last bit of the Witch hazel bloom, to name a few.

early blooming shrubs

You can move smaller shrubs when the ground is not soggy and  prune trees and shrubs if necessary. Never prune off any more than 1/3 of your tree or shrub at one time and if you are not sure there are a number of pruning classes available to teach you how. You can also start a number of plants from cuttings at this time…like grapes which I will be doing shortly!

Check your local library for books on propagating or Google.

I’ll be starting to graft my heritage apple trees in the next week or so…better go collect some good book tapes because I have a bit of grafting to do!!


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

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