NEWS

Turf experts seek to create a better grass for the ground

07/04/2013 05:21 EDT | Updated 09/03/2013 05:12 EDT
Turf experts in Ontario are experimenting with ways to plant grass in the ground that is more resistant to drought and less friendly to lawn grubs.

Grubs are a problem for lawns for a number of reasons.

They cause lawns to turn brown as they eat away at grass roots, leaving homeowners scrambling to stop the problem from spreading.

Then there are the raccoons and skunks that show up and dig up the grass where grubs are present.

This year, the grubs are especially bad in Ontario.

Garden designer and writer Marjorie Harris said the weather may have been a factor.

"Partly I think it’s because it’s been so cool, the temperatures are right for them," Harris told CBC News in a recent interview.

Harris said that a "horrible" year for grubs, like this one, is a constant frustration for gardeners.

For sod farmers, the appearance of grubs can become a major problem, as they can dissuade customers from buying their grass.

Gerry Brower, the owner of a family-run sod company in Keswick, Ont., said that even before this year, grubs have become an increasing problem.

"They've become a bit of an epidemic, basically, because the controls that we have are mediocre, the chemicals that used to be effective in the early days are gone," he told CBC News.

"So now, we can only use what’s available and it’s not sufficient. You have to apply the chemicals on the grass and then somehow find a way of getting the chemical through the grass, into the dirt, in order to be effective. And that either takes a thunderstorm-type of rain, or some heavy irrigation and then they will slowly die."

That's why some turf experts are trying to come up with grass that will take less water to survive and that is less hospitable to grubs.

"That's the aim of some of the breeders," said Brower, who is testing out some new breeds of grass.

MORE:cbcNews