November 5, 2016

1 - There are no lawn grasses totally immune to infestation by white grubs, but some grasses may be somewhat more resistant than other grasses.

Yard and Garden November 5, 2016

Q.

After having our lawn destroyed by grubs three different years (in spite of treating with recommended products at the correct times of year), I am wondering if there are any turf varieties that grubs do not attack?

I will be re-doing the backyard and am debating between putting in a lawn or just going with gravel / rock. I would really prefer to have some grass, but simply cannot keep replacing it.

I am hoping that there is some type of grass that these nasty critters do not like.

Any suggestions you might have will be greatly appreciated.

- Marilyn B.

A.

My first thought was that there will be no grasses resistant to white grub infestation, but checked the internet. The results almost confirmed my first thoughts that there was nothing resistant, but I found an article mentioning that zoysiagrass was somewhat resistant. Please not that "resistant" does not mean totally "immune" only that they are resistant compared to other grasses. Further research found a research article suggesting that they are somewhat tougher grasses and contain more silica than other grasses (something that I have heard for many years as a problem with dulling mower blades). This may explain their resistance, but it definitely does not guarantee immunity to grub problems.

I contacted Dr. Bernd Leinauer, NMSU Extension Service Turfgrass Specialist, to see if he had additional information from his research here in New Mexico.

Dr. Leinauer replied "I am unaware of a grass that is outright resistant to white grubs. I can only say that based on our observations and experience, cool-season grasses (particularly tall fescue) are generally more affected than warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, inland saltgrass). However, we did have a bad case of grub damage on buffalograss a few years ago. I also heard that zoysiagrass is somewhat more tolerant to white grubs than other grasses but I have no scientific data for this. I can only say that we have never had grubs in our zoysia plots at the research farm." He directed me to an article he wrote with Dr. Carol Sutherland, NMSU Extension Service Entomologist - "Dr. Sutherland and I wrote a News You Can Use on white grubs 2 years ago. This is a good article to read about white grubs in lawns."

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, email: desertblooms@nmsu.edu, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.

Links:

For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden - Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at desertblooms@nmsu.edu, or at the Desert Blooms Facebook page.

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