Best DIY Pest Control Advice For Your Lawn

DIY Lawn Pest Control: Expert Tips for a Healthy Garden

Understanding and controlling pests in and around one’s lawn is crucial to maintaining its health. Gaining knowledge on the various types of pests, their impact on the lawn, and preventative measures can ensure that you’re not causing unnecessary stress to your grass and soil. It’s important to remember that not all species have detrimental effects; some can even promote better lawn health.

In this article, we will discuss essential information to help safeguard your lawn from potential harm. By delving into the world of pests, we will explore their specific behaviours and analyse preventive strategies. Armed with this understanding, you can protect your lawn and keep it in top-notch condition.

Key Takeaways

  • Recognise the variety of pests and their varying impact on lawn health
  • Gain insights into specific pest behaviours and their effects
  • Learn about preventive strategies to keep your lawn in optimal condition

DIY Lawn Pest Control Leatherjackets

Now you probably know Leatherjackets in its adult form as either a Crane Fly or a Daddy Long Legs, but it’s not this form we’re concerned about – it’s its larvae form (which are called Leatherjackets).

I’ve noticed that Leatherjackets can cause significant damage to lawns, especially when they’re in their larvae form. During the end of summer and early autumn, Crane Flies, also known as Daddy Long Legs, lay eggs in gardens, which hatch into Leatherjacket larvae. These larvae feed on grass roots during autumn and winter, leaving visible damage in the following spring.

To recognise a potential Leatherjacket problem, there are a few signs to look out for:

  • Large groups of Crane Flies in the garden from July to September
  • Patches of lawn drying up significantly and easily pulled back, revealing larvae in the soil
  • Birds ripping and scratching at the lawn, attempting to feast on the larvae

If you suspect a problem, check your lawn, especially in the most damaged areas, by pulling back patches of turf. If you find more than five pests per square metre, it’s likely that you’ll have some damage to deal with. The best practice in this situation is to scarify, aerate and overseed the lawn, reducing the larvae population and repairing damaged areas.

As for the birds eating away at your lawn, there’s no need to worry; they cause minimal damage. In fact, they’re helpful in controlling the Leatherjacket population and may even remove moss and thatch from your lawn.

When it comes to treating a Leatherjacket infestation, there’s a popular treatment available. To protect your lawn and ensure the best possible results, consider using the following products:-

Best selling Leatherjacket treatment

Last update on 2024-07-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

DIY Lawn Pest ControlChafer Grubs

Chafer grubs are often confused with Leatherjackets due to their similar appearance. Adult chafer grubs are reddish-brown and approximately 14mm long. These grubs are the larvae stage of the insect and can cause damage to your lawn by feeding on grass roots. However, they typically won’t cause significant harm unless there are high numbers of them, which would then result in dry patches appearing on the lawn.

Chafer Grubs Killer

Between May and June, adult chafer grubs emerge from the soil to mate in the evening and return at night, continuing this pattern until July. Female grubs will lay about 15-20 eggs spread across several days, focusing more on compacted soil areas. To prevent them from laying eggs on your lawn, I recommend aerating the lawn and performing regular maintenance.

The eggs will hatch after about two weeks, with the larvae moving towards the lawn surface to start feeding on grass roots. If there’s an infestation, you may notice one of three things happening in your garden, similar to what occurs with Leatherjackets:

  • A large group of adult Chafer Grubs floating around your garden during May & June – an increased number of adults means more larvae
  • Patches of your lawn drying up significantly and the turf becoming easily pullable
  • Garden wildlife, such as birds, badgers, foxes, and hedgehogs, scratching at your grass in search of larvae to eat

If you do experience lawn damage from chafer grub larvae during August and September, you may see your grass turning yellow and thinning out, eventually leaving a dry patch. Over time, the area of dead grass will expand, and the turf will become easily pullable. To tackle this issue, I suggest aerating, scarifying, and overseeding your lawn. Additionally, make sure to follow a regular lawn maintenance schedule suitable for each season.

Casting Worms

Out of all the worms in the UK, only three types of their casts may cause issues on your lawn. If you happen to have these casts on your turf, you’ll notice small bumps. After mowing over these bumps, unattractive markings are left behind, making it an ideal spot for weeds to gather.

The most effective way to prevent worm casts is by addressing the source: the worms themselves. Here are a few methods you can utilise:

  1. Dilute Mustard Solution: By applying a dilute mustard solution on the lawn, the worms will surface. Once they are on top of the turf, you can collect and dispose of them as you see fit.
  2. Worm Cast Reduction Product: Applying a dedicated product on the lawn makes the soil inhospitable for the worms, causing them to leave in search of a new location. This method is harmless to the worms.
  3. Ferrous Sulphate: Adding an acidifier like Ferrous Sulphate to the lawn worsens the worms’ living conditions, forcing them away over time. Although this process takes a while to show results, it is beneficial to your grass.

Tips to Reduce Casts on Your Lawn

In case you’ve noticed casts appearing on your lawn, rest assured, there are ways to make your lawn look neater. To minimise worm casts, follow these steps:

  • Avoid walking on your garden as much as possible during winter
  • Remove autumn leaves as they fall since they attract worms
  • Maintain a high mowing height during late autumn and early winter
  • Refrain from excessive watering during summer
  • Brush dried casts to help them spread out and decrease lawn bumpiness

Best selling Ferrous Sulphate treatment

Last update on 2024-07-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

DIY Lawn Pest ControlAnts

There are two types of ants you’re going to see in the garden, with the red ones being the most destructive. They are likely to be found in areas of dry soil, near paths and driveways for example, they dig their way through, building little tunnels underground and leaving their big, ugly ant hills behind.

These unsightly hills spoiling the look of your lawn make it difficult for your lawn mower to travel over, so corrective action should be taken. You need to use products that deal with the ants issue, but at the same time don’t harm your grass. You can try something like these:

  • An enclosed Ant Bait Station containing poison that the ants take underground.
  • Soluble Ant Killers, these are quicker than above and wash in without leaving any residue behind.

Best selling Ant Bait Stations

Last update on 2024-07-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

DIY Lawn Pest Control Moles

In my experience, moles can indeed be an issue in gardens, creating unsightly mounds and ridges. Here are a few methods I’ve found useful in removing or preventing mole infestations:

  • Since moles primarily feed on worms, implementing measures to remove or reduce worms in the garden can help.
  • Moles prefer overwatered gardens as they’re easier to dig in. Avoid overwatering the lawn to discourage mole activity.
  • Applying Castor Oil to the lawn, either in granular or liquid form, has been effective in encouraging moles to move on.
  • Seeking professional help to set up humane tunnel traps that don’t harm the mole can be an effective and quick solution.

After addressing the mole issue, the next step is fixing their damage. Instead of simply flattening the turf, which can make the lawn uneven, I recommend using a hose to wash the mud back down into the holes. For the ridges, rolling them can help the grass re-root and regain its original appearance.

Best selling Mole Prevention

Last update on 2024-07-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Lawn Pest Prevention

To keep your garden healthy and free from pests, I have listed several essential steps that can be implemented:

  • Pull out all the weak plants. Removing plants that are already affected or susceptible to pests can help prevent the spread of infestations to healthy plants.
  • Build healthy organic soil. Using mulching and topdressing with a natural compost or fertiliser can significantly improve soil quality and strength.
  • Test your soil. Lawn soil testing is crucial for identifying imbalances in nutrient levels, which can cause various issues, including poor grass growth and the attraction of pests.
  • Use seaweed mulch & spray. Seaweed is rich in minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, sulphur, and magnesium, which can promote healthy plant and soil development. Applying it as a spray or mulch can help bolster plant defenses against diseases.
  • Minimise insect habitats. Removing garden debris and weeds can prevent the establishment of breeding grounds for insects.
  • Rotate crops. Implementing this practice can help reduce the spread of pests, as many insects are plant-specific.
  • Keep foliage dry. Watering plants in the early morning ensures that foliage remains dry for most of the day, reducing the risk of insect and fungal infestations.
  • Maintain garden cleanliness. Promptly removing leaves and debris from the lawn can help prevent diseases, as can pruning overgrown hedges and pressure-washing patios and decking.
  • Disinfect garden tools. Washing tools after use, particularly those used on infected plants, can help prevent the transfer of pests.
  • Ensure a suitable lawn mower with a sharp blade is used. Investing in a high-quality mower tailored to your garden’s needs can promote lawn strength and health.
  • Follow seasonal lawn maintenance schedules. Regular maintenance aligned with each season can contribute to a thriving garden and reduce the likelihood of pest problems.

By following these steps, I believe you can create a robust defense system against unwanted pests, ensuring a strong, healthy, and beautiful garden.

I hope you are now more knowledgeable about pest prevention and control. If you have any questions please use the comment box below and I will be happy to respond.

Mark Haley Author
Lawnmower Product Expert, Reviewer and Author at | 01284 615144 | | Website

As a seasoned expert in the field of garden power tools, I have dedicated over a decade to working with and reviewing a wide variety of lawn mowers. My extensive experience has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the benefits and limitations of different types of mowers and garden tools.

Over the years, I have honed my skills in writing informative articles and creating helpful videos for various blogs and publications. This has given me the ability to not only recognise what makes a good lawn mower, but also to help you choose the perfect garden tool for your specific needs and requirements.

With my wealth of knowledge and expertise, I am confident that I can provide you with valuable insights and recommendations when it comes to selecting the right lawn mower for your lawn. So, whether you're looking for a battery cordless, electric, petrol, or robotic mower, you can trust in my expertise to guide you towards the best option for your garden.

6 thoughts on “DIY Lawn Pest Control: Expert Tips for a Healthy Garden”

  1. I have always wondered how the robot mower works.Thanks for the good description.What will they come up with next?Have you used one or seen one demonstrated? I wonder how many times you can charge the battery before it needs to be replaced?Do you leave the wire after the first mowing or does it remember and wire can be removed?I think the mower would be great for someone physically challenged. What’s the price for one in u.s.d.I followed your link but said they were unavailable.
    Thanks Joe

    1. Hi Joe, it really depends on the model of mower, all have different specs and features so if you go directly to the review then you’ll find the answers you’re looking for.

      And if you want to find the U.S.D prices on Amazon then you’ll have to switch over to their US site (just scrol down to the bottom of the page where all countires are listed and click “United States”) and then search for the product in question.

      Thanks for the comment and if you have anymore questions then please just ask ;-)

  2. My husband and I own a 3.5 acre farm…and about 2 acres of the property is straight up grass! Gorwing up in suburbia and then living in urban Seattle for the past 8 years…we don’t know much about lawn care. I found this article on what pests are causing the problems to be very insightful and something I will want to bookmark and refer back to. Thanks for taking the time to dissect the issues!

    1. Cheers Jordan I’ll happy you found the post useful! If you want some more tips on lawn care then head over to my blog.

      Thanks again and best of luck with your new garden :-)

  3. I had 2 big problems in my garden – ants and moles. While deciding what to do storks started visiting our garden and eventually one of the problem was solved. Moles were gone. But the second problem is still unsolved. As I have small children at home I suppose Soluble Ant Killers would be more suitable for my case, wouldn’t they?

    1. Yeah probably, you don’t want them toying with the Bait Station so the Soluble Ant killer solution will be best ;-)

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