Lawn Pests & Control.
Leatherjackets are the worst of all insect pests - in poorly drained lawns after a wet Autumn the damage can be quite considerable. Crane flies (daddy-long-legs) lay their eggs late summer in the turf - grubs hatch out in the Autumn and cause all the damage.
During Spring they feed on the roots and stem bases, resulting in yellow or brown grass. Starlings actively pecking in the turf are sign of a leatherjacket attack. Check by watering a patch of lawn, covering overnight with black polythene sheeting and in the morning look for the tell-tale 1" long grey or brown legless grubs.
Aerating the lawn to improve drainage will help prevent attacks. More action may be required with an insecticide applied in the Autumn.
The flat curled grubs of garden chafers gnaw at the grass roots during Spring and Summer, they are less common than leatherjacket. Small brown patches of dying grass that can be pulled away easily appear. Rolling in spring will crush the grubs, but an insecticide as abovewill keep this pest in check.
Unlike worm casts, ants hills are characteristic of sandy soils appearing in the heat of the Summer. They are not harmful to the turf as earthworm casts, but they disfigure the surface of the lawn and making mowing difficult. The yellow turf ant is the usual culprit and its activity below ground causes some root damage and yellowing of the grass.
Scatter hills with a besom broom before mowing. Locate the nests, open with a spade and generously dust anti-ant power over the surface of the ant hill.
Earthworms do not directly attack turf - in fact they have a beneficial effect by producing drainage holes within the soil of the lawn. Earthworms pay a valuable role in the flower and vegetable garden. The cast forming species in the lawn are not efficient aerators. The casts are an eyesore, when flattened by feet or the mower the fine grasses below them are stifled in growth. The muddy, slippery patch open to weed invasion. In addition a large earthworm population in your lawn will encourage Mr Mole to coming shopping for supper and then move in !