The days are getting longer, the thermometer is slowly rising and the daffodils are flowering – but lawns throughout the country are being dug up by crows, other corvids and badgers on the search for leatherjackets as they climb up towards the surface.
An organically certified control is to water affected areas with Nemasys Leather-Jacket Killer. The nematodes do precisely what it says on the packet and the turning over of the turf stops almost immediately after treatment. Nematodes occur naturally in garden soil and those introduced into the treated areas immediately become part of the garden’s bio culture.
Nematodes are one of the most common animals in the world, with numbers running into trillions. They occur everywhere, including the Arctic.
“Nematode treatment controls the grubs and the birds and badgers stop digging. The treatment should continue through to the end of May and start again in September when a new generation of grubs attract the attention of predators and digging starts all over again,” says Richard Salmon, managing director of ProLawnCare UK Training and Consultancy.
For effective control, applications should start now or as soon as the lawn damage is visible, as the young leatherjackets are most susceptible to nematodes. Two applications two to four weeks apart would achieve a higher level of control.
Although the main leatherjacket treatment programme is in the autumn the problem they cause is starting earlier in the season.
Jon Manners of Green Gardener www.greengardener.co.uk, one of the UK distributors of Nemasys products, explains: “Leatherjackets were the pest we received the most enquiries about last year and sales of Nemasys Leatherjacket Killer tripled as a result. This year we are already getting lots of enquiries with one customer ringing up during Christmas week to tell us that her patio was covered in them as they emerged from the lawn! It is best to treat this pest in the autumn but if your lawn is disappearing before your eyes, treat now as long as the daytime soil temperature is 10c.”