Grub control is very important to a golf course. White grubs feed on the root systems of turfgrass causing the plants to lose their ability to uptake nutrients and water. You can tell damage from grubs by giving turf what as known as the “tug test”. Since the roots have been eaten by the grubs it is easy to grab a piece of turf and pull on it. If it comes right up with little to no resistance it has been damaged by grubs. When fall comes and the damage is starting to be evident another problem arises- skunks and raccoons. These animals feed on white grubs and will roll up the dig through the turf to find the insects.
Every year we treat all greens, tees, fairways and primary rough with grub control. When these insecticides are applied they need to be watered in within the first few hours of application to ensure they will activate in the soil. On bentgrass areas this is easy because we have adequate irrigation coverage. In some areas in the roughs we have to rely on mother nature. We try to time applications with upcoming rainfall to make sure we get the product watered in.
There are a few areas on the course where we have been seeing animal damage. These areas are mainly along wood lines where the skunks and raccoons live and come out at night to feed on the grubs. Thankfully these areas are mostly out of play and do not disrupt golf. There is very little damage behind 10, 17, and 6 green complexes. The biggest damage we have seen is to the right of number 8 tee box and around number 9 par 5 tee boxes. The problem is that even if we treat for the grubs now and take them out, the animals will still come back to these areas because they know that’s where the food source was. We will be raking up these areas and reseeding them next week as well as possibly setting up some live traps to capture the culprits and moving them offsite.
We treat approximately 130 acres of turfgrass every year for grub control. The damaged areas might total 1/10 of an acre. I’d say our grub control worked extremely well this year.