Mower Advisor

Autumn Lawn Pests

Do you have lawn pests and how do you treat them?
Now that Summer has ended and Autumn appears to have arrived, most of us will start to prepare the outside garden for the Winter months ahead.
Raking up the leaves, cutting back trees, shrubs and plants whilst giving your lawn the maintenance it needs before the frosty mornings appear, will be on your agenda.

Autumn is the perfect time of year to start again with your lawn treatment because the soil temperature is still warm enough to stimulate grass growth. However, you should keep an eye on any strange patches appearing on your lawn as these may indicate a lawn pest problem.


Believe it or not, dry patches are not down to a lack of water or nutrients so don’t be tempted to apply more lawn fertiliser or set up a sprinkler. Between now and the end of October the larvae of two pests that live beneath the soil will begin to hatch and feed on the grass roots which, in some cases, can completely devastate turf.

Lawns with yellow/brown dead patches can indicate the presence of leatherjackets beneath the grass. These and small grey/brown grubs are the larvae of daddy longlegs or crane flies. Similarly turf with scruffy areas pulled up by birds or animals searching for food or yellow/brown patches can indicate that you have chafer grubs, root-eating pests that work their way up to the surface.

Pest Control

The only effective way to control these invisible pests is by using a nematode treatment. Nematodes are small roundworms that can be mixed with water and applied to lawns, they seek out the pests, poison them with their bacteria, feed on them, breed and multiply and move on to the next. Despite this activity below ground nematodes are a natural method of pest control and are safe to use around children and pets.

It is worth noting that nematodes do not work as a preventative measure. They are more expensive that usual pest controls but are the only effective treatment for lawn grubs and leatherjackets. Most nematode products need to be kept chilled so if you don’t fancy storing them in your fridge with your food there are non-refrigerated varieties available in garden centres. Each type just needs to be added to water and applied with a watering can or sprayer to the affected area.


Weeds are the other lawn menaces that remain at large at this time of the year, but not as much so as Spring/Summer. Cutting the lawn too short will encourage them to grow, so stick to a reasonable cutting length. Carry on your usual lawn weeding methods to ensure you keep on top of them by removing them by hand or using a good glyphosate-free weed killer.
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