It seems to only happen to those who love their lawn.
One moment, you’re the talk of the town for your green, uniform display – and the next, you’re the talk of the town for all of the ugly brown patches of grass.
Lawn grubs, including grub worms, are the larvae of several beetle species, including:
You may also notice lots of holes in your lawn. That’s a sign that these Japanese beetle grubs or other types of larvae are digging.
These annoying pests lay eggs and then devour the grassroots and other plants, causing them to die or dislodge.
There are many options for dealing with lawn grub infestation, like beneficial nematodes, diatomaceous earth, and milky spore. However, most are chemical solutions that can do more harm than good.
Neem oil for grubs is one of the most lauded natural solutions for pests like white grub worms in the lawn.
But does neem oil kill grubs in the lawn? And if so, how do you use this grub control?
Can You Use Neem Oil For Controlling Lawn Grubs
Thankfully, neem oil is quite effective against all types of lawn grubs.
Here’s all you need to know when using this wonderful insecticide on your lawn.
Understanding Neem Oil
Neem oil is a natural extract from pressing the seeds and other parts of the neem tree, Azadirachta indica.
The solids left over from this cold-pressing process are turned into neem cakes.
In its raw form, neem oil contains several beneficial and pesticide ingredients, most notably Azadirachtin.
When ingested, the chemical can interrupt an insect’s growth cycle, cause infertility, and trick grub worms into starving themselves. This also breaks the breaking the life cycle of these beetle grubs.
Aside from lawn grubs, neem oil is equally effective against a number of pests, including aphids, fungus gnats, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, ants, whiteflies, and ticks.
When the Azadirachtin is extracted, the oil is known as clarified hydrophobic neem oil and contains trace amounts of .5 to 3% percent Azadirachtin.
Azadirachtin is generally safe when used properly but has some toxicity to marine life.
Additionally, raw neem can cause chemical burns if applied topically to plants, so clarified neem is generally used for foliar sprays.
Will Neem Harm Beneficial Creatures?
The good news is that neem oil won’t harm earthworms and pollinators.
The bad news is that you must apply neem oil at dusk or dawn to avoid harming beneficial insects or natural predators, like bees, ladybugs, butterflies, and other friendly fliers that can be affected by the Azadirachtin.
Avoid spraying neem near beehives or places you know beneficial insects are breeding or nesting, as the wind may contaminate these locations.
Neem oil evaporates in 45 minutes to an hour when exposed to air but will remain in the soil for a few weeks.
Creating a Neem Oil Lawn Spray
The grass is generally less sensitive to chemicals than ornamental or flowering plants, so it is generally recommended to make a soil soak and apply using a sprayer.
Neem oil soil soaks require emulsified water, so add one teaspoon of pure castile soap to a gallon of warm water and mix gently.
Next, add two tablespoons of 100% percent cold-pressed raw neem oil and place the mix in your sprayer.
Spray your entire lawn once per week until there are no remaining signs of grub activity over the affected areas.
Another alternative method is to mix one teaspoon of liquid soap and two tablespoons of Neem oil for every gallon of water.
Neem Cakes: The Safer Alternative
Of course, if you aim for a healthy lawn, you’re likely also using fertilizer.
Neem oil for lawn grubs can be replaced with Neem cakes, which have a wide range of health benefits for grass, including an NPK of 4-1-2 and numerous micronutrients.
The cakes have very little oil content, making them safer around sensitive plants, but they still contain enough Azadirachtin to make them an effective grub and adult beetle killer.
One pound of neem cake will cover a 20’ foot square area to a depth of 6” inches when mixed with the soil.
You may also mix the neem cake with your favorite lawn fertilizer for similar results.
Be sure to follow all instructions on the package, as different brands may have slightly different NPK ratios or concentrations.