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Qestions about garden grubs, applying nematodes, milky spore etc

Posted by 6ftzuch Pittsburgh, PA (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 18, 11 at 17:16

Hi All,

This is my first time here on this forum. My wife and I just started our first garden and are looking for a little help. We cut the grass from the 9' x 45' area that we'd like to put the garden and found lots of grubs in the soil. I've applied milky spore already but have been told that it may take a year or 2 for it to start working. For this season I was hoping to put something organic / non toxic in the garden and I found out about nematodes. Everything I've seen and read says to apply them with a sprayer to the top of your garden and within a week or 2 you should be all set. This sounded a little but like magic to me and I have tons of questions which I hope some of you can answer..

My questions are this:

How many nematodes would be best for 405 sq foot garden?

Do they work and how long does it take for them to work?

When is the best time to use nematodes and how many times per year?

Are Steinernematid or Heterorhabditis nematodes better?

I've noticed that the grubs and cutworms are a foot or two down in the soil - will they make it down that far? Is it rain that carries them further into the soil?

If not then should I rototill the garden before applying the nematodes to bring the grubs to the top and loosen up the soil?

Do they need sunlight or not? Right now my garden is covered with a tarp to prevent weeds from taking root.

My soil test says to add 5-10-10 fertilizer and lime to change the PH of the garden. Would it kill them if I added fertilizer and should I add fertilizer before or after putting them down?

Any help would be appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Qestions about garden grubs, applying nematodes, milky spore

Those grubs are that deep in your soil because they are only starting to move upward for the spring as your soil warms. Those grubs you found are too big for the Milky Spore Disease, "Bacillus popilleae" to work on them anymore, however, the nematodes may be of some use.
Whether the grubs would be a problem depends on the population, 10 or more per square foot can be while 5 or fewer per square foot will not be.
Fertilizer and lime, applied now in the appropriate amounts, will have no affect oon either the grubs or the nematodes, although spring is not the best time to apply lime.

RE: Qestions about garden grubs, applying nematodes, milky spore

Most beneficial nematode packages contain more than one species. As a matter of fact, both species you mention are extremely similar and are likely to be packaged together along with a few others. Be sure to read and understand with certainty what you are purchasing and that it is intended for grubs.

The directions should clearly tell you how many to use in a given amount of space. The label will also tell you that the soil must be warmish (68F is ideal) before you apply these nematodes and that sunlight can kill them. Your soil should be moist in advance, and free from mulch or other debris. You want to apply the nemas directly to the soil surface.

Be sure to order your nematodes,fresh, from a reputable source, one that provides plenty of educational information on how to store the nematodes once you receive them, how to apply them, when to apply, how often, etc.

Have you found a good place to purchase them, yet? Let us know what you find out.

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