I believe I have masked chamfer grubs aka June Beetle eating the roots of of the plants in a new strawberry bed.
Anyone know how to treat this problem?
There is a product called Grub-X commonly available at bigbox stores like Home Despot and Lowes that is formulated to kill soil and turfdwelling grubs. Since strawberries have pretty well wound up for this season, now might not be a bad time to use it to save your plants. But dig around a little first to confirm that grubs are your problem, not some kind of root disease. If the grubs are there, you should be able to see them.
This is the first time I have heard of grubs being a serious problem on strawberry roots, but it is certainly possible. They do a job on turf grass roots.
Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA
Thanks for your thoughts.
Actually if you look at extension service handouts on growing strawberries in various midwestern states, they all list white grubs as a common strawberry pest. Unfortunately, none of them list any treatment. I actually have dug up a number of plants searching for grubs, but haven't spotted any. However, I doubt the problem is root rot because the plants I dug up had NO roots an inch below the crown, and the plants have been dying off one by one.
Somewhat different looking than what I planted in May.
I did look at Grub-ex and one other turf grass treatment (can't remember the name) and one or the other listed **not for vegetable gardens** on the bag, which I take to mean not for edibles, but unfortunately no indication of soil residence time or whether it would be acceptable for non-bearing strawberries.
I did contact the Illinois extension service who told me that current acceptable treatments for grubs are only available to commercial growers, as opposed to backyard folks. The fellow gave me a little history as well and told me that diazinon was previously used until the EPA removed it from the market. Conveniently, I had a bottle of diazinon purchased prior to the removal. So although my bottle is a couple of years old I'm going to give that a shot.
Root weevils (strawberry root weevil, black vine root weevil, etc) can all feed on strawberry roots, and are a huge pest problem here in the PNW. I'm not sure of their distribution in the midwest. So, it's possible that you have those and not Japanese beetle larvae, but either way, the treatment is the same.
I'd try to find some old info on-line (unless it's on your bottle) regarding rates and timing. You definitely don't want to apply too much, and I'm pretty sure that it would need to be watered in to be effective.
The directions are on the bottle so no problem there.
Yes root weevils are also considered a possible pest here. However, I couldn't find any leaf damage on the plants from adult weevils.
I do see June beetles (not Japanese beetles) flying here in the evening. I figure, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras.