Home Life & Style Gardeners warned about ‘silent threat’ which could kill their lawns for good

Gardeners warned about ‘silent threat’ which could kill their lawns for good

Fiona Jenkins at MyJobQuote said: “In the gardening world, leatherjackets are the destructive larvae of daddy longlegs.

“These critters are tiny, brown or grey worms with a tough, leathery exterior. They live underground, munching away on the roots of your precious lawn, particularly feasting on grass. 

“While they might seem small, a significant infestation can leave your once-vibrant green grass looking more like a patchy, sad excuse for a lawn.

So, the next time you notice brown, lifeless areas popping up on your lawn, leatherjackets might be the culprits.”

Symptoms of a leatherjacket infestation include patchy brown grass as they feast on the grass’ roots.

These patches may feel spongy underfoot due to the damaged root system, according to the pro.

She added: “In severe infestations, the leatherjackets can completely devour the grass roots, leaving behind completely bare patches of soil.

“If the infestation isn’t too bad, you might notice your lawn appears feathered rather than having smooth, even growth. This can be caused by the leatherjackets damaging the grass roots unevenly.”

If you have lots of birds hanging around the garden, it could be a sign of an infestation as they like to eat them.

While the damage can be quite bad, it is possible to tackle a leatherjacket infestation.

Fiona recommended nematodes which are microscopic worms. She explained: “They’re naturally occurring nematodes that hunt down and kill leatherjackets. 

“Apply them in late summer or early autumn when the soil is moist and warm (around 12°C). Remember, these guys work best on young grubs, so timing is key!

“This might sound like a strange trick, but leatherjackets are attracted to yeasty smells. 

“Dig a shallow hole in an affected area, fill it with beer, and cover it with a piece of slate or cardboard. 

“The grubs will crawl in and perish within the booze. Dispose of any trapped critters humanely. This is not the most efficient method, but it’s a natural option for smaller infestations.”

To prevent an infestation in the first place, make sure to help promote a healthy lawn by mowing, aerating and feeding.


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