The Q&A Archives: Grubs in Flower Beds

Question: I'm a novice gardener, and I have what appear to be grubs (chubby white worms) in my soil. My question is twofold. First, I'm worried that they are feasting on my perennial bulbs and plants. What do they eat? Secondly, if they are causing harm, what should I put in the soil to get rid of them, without contaminating my soil with chemicals?

Answer: Grubs do feed on the roots of plants, and can cause significant damage to lawns if their population is large. A small grub population, however, is not something to worry about too much, although the beetles they turn into later may become a nuisance as they feed on plant foliage and flowers. Take an inventory of the population. In several areas of the lawn, peel back a square foot of sod and count how many of the C-shaped grubs you find. Do this in a few areas in your flowerbeds as well. If there are more than 5 or 6 grubs per square foot you may want to do something to reduce their numbers. Beneficial nematodes are an effective and safe control.

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