Curl Grubs

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Curl Grubs

Postby Michelle216 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:30 am

I couldn't find a section that seemed right for this question...I have a lot of curl grubs in one of my garden beds and also in some of the pots, the death zone is expanding, they are killing off plants that have been in for quite some time, the newest over a year. The soil seem OK, well manured over the years and always well mulched. Other sections are all doing really well. Does anyone know of a safe way of getting rid of these grubs, or at least reducing there numbers so the plants have a fighting chance ? We have lots of frogs and other wildlife as well as our animals so I don't generally use any chemicals if I can avoid it. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.
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Re: Curl Grubs

Postby brill » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:16 am

Try forking over the garden bed to expose the grubs to the birds. Apart from that I think your only option is lawn grub granules. If you cover them or rake them in other animals are less likely to eat them.
Do you have garden lights? Read somewhere they attract the beetles which then lay the eggs (?) in the soil.
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Re: Curl Grubs

Postby Michelle216 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:22 pm

the worst hit area is just outside our kitchen window so would get the light from the kitchen at night, the frogs love camping on the window at night for all the moths, the other ends of this bed are doing fine so it probably is the light, I will drop the blinds in future.
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Re: Curl Grubs

Postby Longy » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:51 pm

I'm always intrigued by queries about curl grubs killing plants.
I have curl grubs in my gardens of course, but have never put down a death of a plant to them.
SO why are they killing plants?
Obviously, they must be eating or otherwise damaging the roots right??
I believe they eat decaying vegetation and if there is plenty of organic matter in the soil, maybe they won't need to eat living vegetation.
So perhaps a compost bomb in the affected areas is all that is required. It'll give the plants a boost, add organic matter for the grubs to chew and certainly can't do any harm.
Is this a well researched answer? Nope. I have no idea.
Sounds good tho'!
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Re: Curl Grubs

Postby 4seasons » Sun Mar 28, 2010 6:35 pm

I have used Condys Crystals effectively to kill curl grubs in large potted camellias. This was after I lost a camellia and on removal from the pot counted over 400 curl grubs. One of Brisbane's well known garden identities subsequently gave me the advice. CC can be difficult to come by but some pharmacies will have it. Unfortunately, it also kills earthworms. I suspect it would also kill frogs if they come in contact with it.
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Re: Curl Grubs

Postby taffyman » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:15 pm

Obviously, they must be eating or otherwise damaging the roots right??
I believe they eat decaying vegetation and if there is plenty of organic matter in the soil, maybe they won't need to eat living vegetation.


Can't agree with you there Longy. I've had a lot of problems with curl grubs (a few different species of them) in my Bonsai pots. The very nearly killed a beautiful Champion Green Island Fig of mine. When I found them (because the tree was looking a bit sick) there were eight of them in the pot as big as your thumb and they'd chewed through at least 3/4 of the whole root system. Another week or so and I would have probably lost the tree to the mongrels - or have had major die-back on it.
I've found them in a number of my Bonsai pots - or at least I used to. Now, all my trees get dunked fairly regularly in Chlorpyrifos 500 (Lorsban) mixed with water. It's dangerous stuff to use and is indiscriminate. It will kill any insects that come in to contact with it. I only use it for my Bonsai, I would never use the stuff around the garden. I also use long industrial Chemical gloves when handling it because it is a known carcinogen. That's why I didn't offer it as a suggestion to Michelle's question. On top of that, it isn't available to the general public - you have to be a primary producer to buy it.

My suggestion would be the same as Brill's. Use the granules if necessary but make sure they are covered, so no other creatures - like Maggies etc can come in contact with it. If you bury the granules and give the plant a good watering, they will dissolve fairly quickly. The granular stuff (if it contains Chlorpyrifos) is a lot less potent than what I use - like about 1/10th as strong, so will dissipate quite quickly - but it will do the job in getting rid of the curl grubs.
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Re: Curl Grubs

Postby Pam » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:48 am

4seasons wrote:I have used Condys Crystals effectively to kill curl grubs in large potted camellias. This was after I lost a camellia and on removal from the pot counted over 400 curl grubs. One of Brisbane's well known garden identities subsequently gave me the advice. CC can be difficult to come by but some pharmacies will have it. Unfortunately, it also kills earthworms. I suspect it would also kill frogs if they come in contact with it.


I've seen it used for ants in pots too, and yes, it does kill worms. Shouldn't be used for anything other than potted plants, ie, NOT in the garden.
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Re: Curl Grubs

Postby Michelle216 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:56 am

thanks for the advice everyone, I will try to get some crystals during my luchbreak today. Not sure exactly why I got them so bad at the moment, the out of kilter rain patterns probably don't help. This particular garden bed runs all along the side of the house with about 4 of every type of plant that I have in. The end down under the gum trees even looks Ok at the moment and the hebe normally has a struggle there, but this spot by the kitchen window, the pigface is almost dead the hebe is sticks with just a few leaves and a couple of other thing I can't remember the names of are ready for the compost bin. The other end near the laundry, well the hebe is just taking over the world...
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Re: Curl Grubs

Postby Sam » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:12 am

When you go to buy them, ask for 'permanganate of potash', or find an 'older' assistant. The younger ones have no idea what Condy's Crystals are!
“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian, wine and tarragon
make it French, sour cream makes it Russian, lemon and
cinnamon make it Greek, soya sauce makes it Chinese, Garlic
makes it good.” Alice May Brock, Alice’s Restaurant Cookbook.
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Re: Curl Grubs

Postby taffyman » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:34 pm

Michelle, if you have a rural supplier any where near you, go to them for it. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than from a chemist or anywhere else. We paid about $28.00 for a 500gm container - and that amount will last you a lifetime. From memory the chemist wanted $8.00 for 50gms. The other name for it is Potassium Permanganate.
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