Pest Control

Quick Tips

  • Grow stress-free turf. A proper foundation, using fertilizer only as necessary, and proper mowing and watering encourages a pest-free lawn.
  • Control thatch and soil compaction.
  • Realize some weeds or insect pests are acceptable. A healthy lawn can harbor weeds and insects at harmless levels:five to 10% weed growth is unnoticeable while 30 or less chinch bugs or eight to ten grubs per square foot will not damage properly watered turf. Even excessive pesticide use cannot eliminate all pests, so lower the bar on perfection! Determine a level of pest population that's unacceptable. Then use cultural or biological ways to keep them below that point.
  • Grow insect-resistant grass varieties of ryegrass or fescue innoculated with endophytes. Ask your retailer for this by name.
  • Monitor and accurately identify pest problems. Contact your county Cooperative Extension for help or go to
  • Use cultural practices first. Try hand weeding, raking, mowing at the proper height, and pruning tree limbs for better sunlight and air movement.
  • Sic biological allies on your pests first, use pesticides last. Parasitic nematodes can be purchased for grub control. Ask your local garden supply retailer. Reduced use of pesticides encourages natural organisms that keep lawn pest problems in check.
  • Using Beneficial Nematodes for Grub Control (PDF)
  • Maine and on-line vendors of biocontrols (PDF)
  • Use pesticides only when pests increase beyond acceptable levels. Choose ready-to-use products saying "Caution" on the label, and avoid those that read "Warning" or "Danger." Buy only what you need to avoid over-winter storage. And read, understand and follow all label directions. Avoid products that have to be re-applied multiple times and "buyer beware," many all-natural and unregulated "minimum risk" pest control products do not work well at all.
  • Spot treat only the areas with pest populations greater than acceptable levels.
  • If you hire professional services, make sure they use YARDSCAPING principles!