How To Easily Remove Grubs In Vegetable Garden
Gardeners encounter a variety of pests while tending to their beds. One of the most common finds are grubs in vegetable garden beds. They are the little larva of different kinds of beetles. Grubs resemble a small, white worm or caterpillar, close to ¾ to 1 ½ inches long. Some are white, but others have gray bodies. You can commonly find grub on your lawn, but they can cause trouble in your vegetable garden.
Grubs may seem like a harmless beetle, but they can create an assortment of issues. It can be hard to know that you have grubs in vegetable garden until you turn over some soil. Since they live under the dirt, you don’t see them munching away on your precious plant roots until the damage is already done.
During the spring and summer, they are underground eating the roots. Typically, grub-infested vegetable plants are slow to grow or are sparse. Many times, the activity will lead to the death of the plant. If your plants look as though they are experiencing a drought, it would be wise to check for grub activity if increased watering doesn’t help the problem.
There is another way to tell if you have a grub problem. Many foraging animals, like birds, skunks, and raccoons, love to eat grubs. They are a delicious source of protein. If you find an animal or evidence of an animal digging in your garden, they may be trying to access the yummy grubs below the soil.
7 Ways to Getting Rid of Grubs in Vegetable Garden
There are a variety of methods to get rid of the grubs in your garden. You could try a chemical product, but there are other ways you may pick instead of resorting to the insecticides.
1. Till The Soil
One of the means to decrease the number of grubs in the vegetable garden by taking out all plant litter in the early fall. It is best to till the soil to about 7 inches thick. Then, in two weeks, turn the soil two inches thick.
When it gets close to planting time, you need to turn the ground to around two inches deep. This is best done around two weeks before your first spring planting. Frequent cultivation and tilling of the land destroys adult beetles, kills grub worms and exposes many of the rest to other wildlife looking for a meal.
2. Bacterium Insecticide
If you want to use an insecticide that isn’t chemically made, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a bacteria found naturally in soil; it is commonly used as an insecticide. The bacteria works by poisoning the grubs’ stomach, leading to a disruption of their feedings. The grubs in the vegetable garden will starve and die within a few days, commonly by the third day. You can also use it on caterpillars and other beetle larvae.
Many people avoid insecticides, but there is no reason not to use Bacillus thuringiensis. It doesn’t cause any damage to pets, beneficial insects, wildlife or humans. You can purchase Bt in a spray form, and you have to thoroughly coat the vegetables, as well as the undersides of the leaves.
Bacillus papillae is another kind of commercial microbial pesticides that can control the grub population in an organic manner. Bacillus papillae cause milky spore disease that will infect and kill most of the grub worms in your soil. The issue with this method is it takes a long time to work. You need to have the spores in the ground for two to four years. Even though it takes a few years to be effective indeed, they last for up to 10 years. Despite the high price tag, Bacillus papillae applications are a good way to control some grubs in your vegetable garden.
3. Manual Removal
Instead of resorting to chemicals, there are some circumstances in which you could handpick the grubs off of the plants and place them in a warm, soapy water. Before you begin the manual removal, it is a good idea to wear a pair of work gloves. Grubs can sting and irritate your skin.
When you are manually removing the grubs, check under leaves and vegetables, as well as on the ground surrounding the plant. The one disadvantage to this method is the time it takes. Manual removal takes a good bit of time, and you must commit to doing so a few times each week to keep the infestation under control. However, it is free and straightforward; there are no chemicals in your hands!
4. Insecticidal Nematodes
Another method to remove grubs from your vegetable garden is to release insecticidal nematodes into your garden soil. They can cut down your grub population by over half. The nematodes inject toxic bacteria into the grub worms that will result in their death within a few days.
Even though they are deadly for grub worms, nematodes are harmless. You don’t have to worry about them killing the important organisms in your soil nor does it harm humans or animals. Many gardeners have to apply the insecticidal nematodes up to four times before you notice the results you desire.
5. Solarize the Soil
If you want to kill the grubs in vegetable garden, heating the earth is a safe and secure method. To practice this method, you need to cover the garden bed with a clear sheet of plastic during the hottest months of the summer. Then, leave the plastic in place for four to six weeks. During this period, the soil will continue to get hotter. This method kills grubs and nematodes as well as many forms of plant pathogens.
6. Other Low Toxicity Insecticides
Many people don’t want to use insecticides because they worry about the use of toxic chemicals on their vegetable plants. Some brands have a few chemicals. Oil sprays, like horticultural, Neem and jojoba, are insecticidal soaps are safe to use on vegetable plants. Insecticidal soaps break down quickly and don’t leave any residue on the plants.
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When you use these products, you have to make sure to use them correctly otherwise you risk harming your plants. For example, you should never use them below 40 degrees or above 85 degrees. Also, you should never use these types of insecticides on water-stressed plants. `
7. Active Prevention
The best way to cut down on the amount of grubs in your soil is to take proper care of your garden beds. Fallen plant matter attracts pests. Gardeners need to actively remove leaves, twigs, and debris close to your vegetable plants. Taking the care to properly water your plants is essential as well.
Even if you experience grubs in vegetable garden, there are many methods to ensuring you can get rid of them. The most important thing a gardener needs to do is stay active and alert to the presence of their activity. Checking your soil, tilling regularly, and taking steps to prevent grubs will drastically decrease the chances of a problem.
For those times when you end up with an ongoing grub problem, there are insecticides, bacteria, and other methods to remove grubs without using toxic chemicals naturally. If you use these methods, most people can eliminate grubs quickly.
I hope you found these methods helpful! Let us know in the comments if you have a tried and true method to grub removal.