Grubs getting into grass - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Grubs getting into grass

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Like most homeowners, Rita Potratz takes a lot of pride in growing a bright green lawn.

"My mother has lived here since around 1954, and never a problem like this in all these years. Never a problem like this," she explained.

When summer rains gave way to a warm stretch, her grass turned ugly.

"That's when we first started seeing brown spots, but my mother and I thought it was the sun," she said.

Rita talked to her lawn care specialist, and then called the Black Hawk County ISU Extension office.

"In the last two weeks, we've probably had 20 calls to the extension office asking - what's going on with the lawns? Why are they turning brown? What's the problem?" said Horticulturist Bryan Foster.

Foster knew exactly where to find the root of the problem.

"If you can grab a hold of the grass and pull it back and its pulling back like carpet, you'll find these little grubs laying there," he demonstrated on Potratz's yard.

"It was so gross! Yes, this is super gross," Potratz added.

The grubs -- which more than likely are baby Japanese Beetles -- are living right beneath the surface of Potratz's grass. And as it turns out, under many of her neighbor's lawns as well.

"Once they're in an area, they're going to keep reproducing there. There's no way to eliminate, so you just manage them," said Foster.

Potratz's lawn care expert sprinkled a specialty product on her lawn. As it rains, the treatment will sink into the dirt.

"They actually attack the life-cycle of the grub so when it goes to pupate it dies," Foster said. "Now, the good news is, if you keep watering this after you take care of the grubs it will grow back."

Which is great news for Potratz. After half-a-decade without any problems, she's not about to let a bunch of creepy crawlers kill her lawn.

"I sure hope we'll have a green lawn before the snow hits!" she said.

If you have a grub problem, Foster is more than happy to help you out. It also gives him a chance to take a sample of the grubs. Researchers keep track of which species are living in different communities.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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