Start Watching Out For Leatherjackets In Your Lawn
6th Sep 2012
We have noticed recently that more people’s lawns seem to be getting Leatherjackets, which have just hatched over the past few weeks.
Crane flies (daddy long-legs) have been laying their eggs for the past 6 or 7 weeks, so they have now started hatching and are beginning to start the process of havoc that they cause over the coming months.
A single adult crane fly can lay over 300 eggs in just a few square meters of lawn.
How Does My Lawn Get Leatherjackets?
From roughly the end of July, the crane flies lay their eggs below the surface of lawns. Around 2-3 weeks later, the Leatherjackets larvae hatch and start to feed off the turf roots and stems.
If you have been walking on your lawn in the early evening, you may sometimes see the crane flies on the lawn.
Notice any birds paying attention to your lawn?
The main problem with Leatherjackets in most cases is that you don’t usually notice whether your lawn has them or not until they cause quite significant damage.
Amazingly, the larvae can continue feeding off the turf roots and stems until the following June, causing bare and mud patches.
Confirmation of Leatherjackets
The first sign of damage is when straw-like coloured parts of grass start to appear. These tend to become bare further down the line and weed grasses and weeds start to appear.
Eventually, birds start to feed off the lawn as the Leatherjackets become more visible as prey for other animals.
This is the most common point of action for most people, as the birds tend to make a mess on the lawn when pecking through the turf to eat the Leatherjackets.
Notice the loose areas of turf caused by the birds when reaching for the Leatherjackets. This particular lawn also has a high amount of moss infestation. If the problem is ignored, the lawn will eventually become very bare.
Leatherjackets that have completely devoured the turf roots. The damage is similar, but not quite as rapid as Chafer Grubs.
Keep an eye out for them
The cost of repair usually increases depending on how long the Leatherjackets have been devouring the turf for, so it’s important to react when any of the symptoms appear.
A single application of the correct product can kill them, but scarification and possibly other applications like over-seeding may be required afterwards to remove dead grass areas and fix bare patches.
Dealing with Leatherjackets as soon as possible will avoid any extra costs of repairing the lawn afterwards. Remember that preventative is always much cheaper than cure.