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Lawn Care

The main reason badgers dig up turf is to get at the grubs in the grass roots. The presence of insect larvae such as those of the cockchafer and crane-fly (leatherjacket) can themselves damage lawns, but also attract badgers. Generally damage is seasonal, but the result can be devastating. The crane-fly larvae retreat deep into the ground as the soil gets colder in the winter, so they are only available to the badger in spring, possibly during summer if the soil is damp, and peaking again in the autumn.

Good lawn care will result in no grubs, but it is an ongoing process. The female crane-fly will find a fine, manicured lawn much less attractive for egg laying than a neglected, mossy one. Spike your lawn to improve the drainage, top dressing with sand by sweeping it into the holes. Disturb the lawn surface by raking with a lawn-rake - female crane-flies prefer not to lay their eggs in disturbed soil. If the lawn is mossy, it is most important to rake it over every week during August and September, when the eggs are laid. Disturb other areas in your garden at this time as well, to deter the female's egg laying search.

There are other short-term measures for getting rid of the grubs.

  • An organic method is to lay down some black polythene, held down with bricks, on the wet lawn overnight. In the morning the grubs should have moved to the surface and can either be swept up and put on the bird table, or left for the birds to eat if they are around at the time.
  • Biological control can be by the use of nematodes, microscopic worms, appearing as a grey powder, used as a drench. The products containing them must be used at the right times of the year as they cannot survive frosts. This is also an environmentally friendly method.
  • Chemical removal. Try to only use a product which is targeted at these grubs and does not kill other insects, especially worms which are beneficial to the garden. They aerate the soil, so are a help in improving your lawn.

Last Updated ( Friday, 02 March 2012 )