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Cultural Practices Affect Root-Feeding White Grubs (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in Turfgrass

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Cultural practices were manipulated before or during seasonal flights of Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman, and masked chafers, Cyclocephala spp., to study effects on grub densities in tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass turf. Masked chafer grubs were consistently smaller and less abundant in turf that had been treated with aluminum sulfate to reduce soil pH and in high-mown turf. High mowing or application of aluminum sulfate before beetle flights reduced total biomass of white grubs in tall fescue by as much as 55 and 77%, respectively. However, where spatial gradients in soil moisture occur, the positive response of grub populations to moisture may override effects of those treatments. Grub densities were not affected by spring applications of lime or urea or by aerification of plots before beetle flights. Plots that were irrigated during beetle flights incurred significantly higher densities of both P. japonica and Cyclocephala spp. grubs than did nonirrigated turf. The use of a 2,247- kg roller to compact the soil before beetle flights did not affect subsequent grub populations, and the roller was not effective for remedial control of 3rd instars in the fall. Application of organic fertilizers (composted cow manure or activated sewage sludge) resulted in significant increases in grubs of green June beetle, Cotinis nitida L., in 1 of 2 yr. Cultural practices may have general or species-specific effects on densities of white grubs. This study suggests that witllolding irrigation during peak flight of beetles, raising cutting height, and light application of aluminum sulfate in spring may help to reduce the severity of subsequent grub infestations.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1996

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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