The European Chafer, Rhizotrogus majalis, is a serious pest of turf in eastern North America. In 2001 it was discovered in New Westminster lawns and boulevards. The grub stage of this beetle is destructive to turf as it feeds on the roots of grass during the summer, winter and through to the spring. Considerable damage to turf can occur in the fall and winter from animals and birds digging up the grass to feed on larger grubs.
The European Chafer is a pest that cannot be easily eliminated and there are two 'best practices' to manage the Chafer:
- The use of a biological agent called Nematodes, living microscopic worms that attack the chafer grubs (click here for YouTube video on applying Nematodes). Nematodes must be ordered, stored and applied all within a very short time period in July for best results. Nematode subsidies are available at Parks and Recreation during the spring.
- Ensure your lawn is healthy and resilient to the Chafer pest. For advise, please check out our Smart Gardening & Lawn Care brochure or talk to your local garden centre experts.
Once the European Chafer is managed, animals and birds should stop digging for this food source and you can start to repair your lawn. It is recommended that you address the Chafer issue before investing in a major lawn restoration new lawn. Click here for the European Chafer Management Calendar (pending).
To help restore Chafer damaged lawns and boulevards, best done in the spring, gently rake (remove) damaged turf, apply lawn starting fertilizer and top dress the ground with quality soil and grass seed.
Alternative ground coverings to replace grass include: Dutch White Clover, Salal, Ajuga, Vancouver Gold Bloom, Thyme and Sedum. Talk to your local garden centre experts about these ground covers, their needs and what may work best for you.