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 are the larvae of several beetle species, including:
These annoying pests devour the grass roots and other plants, causing them to die or dislodge.
There are many options out there for dealing with lawn grub infestation, but most are chemical solutions that can do more harm than good.
One of the most lauded natural solutions for pests is neem oil.
But will neem oil work against lawn grubs. And if so, how do you use it?
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 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 them into starving themselves.
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 generally is used for foliar sprays.
Will Neem Harm Beneficial Creatures?
The good news is that neem oil won’t harm earthworms and similar creatures.
The bad news is that you must apply neem oil at dusk or dawn to avoid harming beneficial insects, like bees, ladybugs, 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.
Neem Cakes: The Safer Alternative
Of course, if you’re aiming for a healthy lawn, you’re likely also using fertilizer.
Neem cakes 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 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.