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Dug up these in badly compacted lawn today. Anyone know what they are and if they indicate a problem or not? Small lawn has been sown two years in a row, April 2010 and April/May 2011. Whenever it gets to Spring more than half the lawn disappears and I'm left with just hard compacted soil patches. Each time it's sown it looks lush by July/August. Then it disappears over winter. It's currently a mess yet again.
They look like leatherjackets, which turn into horrible daddylonglegs. You need a flock of starlings to come in and deal with them. I love to see starling poking around in my lawn.
The alternative is to treat the lawn in late summer with Provado Lawn Grub Killer - you'll find it in your local garden centre.
Thanks for response Koalagirl and Alina W. Blast! Not the dreaded leatherjackets. I'd hoped maybe some harmless moth or anything other than leatherjackets. Koalagirl - there's a nest of Starlings near and the parents come to the birdtable most days just now and guzzle everything. I bought yet more lawn seed to give the lawn a third year try - but have to admit that after having to dig up the original badly neglected lawn (the one spade and much sweat technique!) and two year's effort re-sowing - I'd rather sit with a cuppa and will the starlings to just do their thing - if they will. It's a very small lawn - shame on me for giving up so easily. I'll give it some thought.
There is also a biological control available from Nemasys, I believe.
I'm not sure bugs in the ground would munch through a whole lawn. (I could be wrong!)
There's a couple of reasons I can think why your lawn might be dying back over winter. Sunlight levels drop and the sun does travel further north which might shade out part of your lawn, also, some lawn grasses are not as tolerant of cold weather. I'm sure you made an informed choice of grass seed, I've never actually met anyone who sowed their lawn with warm season grass, but I know it exists!
Good luck with what you decide. (I cut a very deep shade border where my grass didn't grow so well. The sun struggled behind some large shrubs and the ground never dried out, the grass that grew was lush but ugly patches and now I have a gorgeous shade border some 15x15
Have tried to put photos together as small as possible to let you see the little lawn. I think the error I made was in beginners enthusiasm and not knowing how to best prepare the soil before sowing. I had thought it seemed a job well done when the grass came up the first year - but I ought to have checked out the make-up of the soil and done more prep I think! Don't know if this photo will fit in but will try. May end up too small to see clearly.
Wintersong wrote (see)
I'm not sure bugs in the ground would munch through a whole lawn. (I could be wrong!) They can, Wintersong. A neighbour had to have her lawn lifted and re-turfed, the damage was so extreme.