CityFarmer instructs on how to apply nematodes to your lawns in the coming week
It's a slighly complicated process, and frankly spreading nematodes onto your lawn is not for everybody. But in order to save your lawn from the voracious appetites of raccoons, skunks and crows, you better get onto it right away.
I wrote about the destruction of our lawns by these animals months ago. At the time I argued that it was up to each city in Metro Vancouver – specifically their park boards – to help notify residents about how to prevent the spread of European chafer beetle grubs. It's those little yummy worms that raccoons and their night crawling pals love.
The problem seemed to begin further east a few years back. Lawns in New Westminster were ravaged by the beetle problem. Then it moved west, through Burnaby and eventually it began to show up in the Killarney area of southeast Vancouver. Now you can see lawns ripped up in Dunbar and Point Grey. There is only one way to really stop it, and that's to spread nematodes onto your lawns now – the last 2 weeks of July – as this is when the beetles' eggs are being laid.
The Courier's Sandra Thomas mentioned in her column from Friday to let your grass grow a little longer during this time, as it makes it a little harder for the beetles to get down into the grass roots.
If there is any political angle to this, it might be the view that lawns are considered "inefficient" by some in the enviro crowd. Vision city councillor Andrea Reimer, for example, has made disapproving public statements about lawns. While lush green grass might not pass muster with some, it's still the most popular way to keep our neighbourhoods green and cool in summer.
Knowledge about how to battle the beetles has not traveled easily, which is why I support local governments getting more involved in this process. Communications campaigns would be a good start – multilingual brochures with lists of locations to order/purchase nematodes, and instructions on lawn application. The Vancouver Park Board made a good start on this back in 2006, but unfortunately have not pursued it further.
I've seen the little orange beetles lurking in my yard, and I know my backyard is regularly visited by raccoons and skunks. It's only a matter of time before they begin digging up my grass, which is why I'm going to try and get my nematodes applied soon.
Kudos to the CityFarmer folks who have produced these helpful videos. I challenge the Vancouver Park Board to get on this, and let the public know how to avoid getting their lawns ravaged. It's too late for 2010 unfortunately, but let's hope that under their new General Manager a plan to deal with the European chafer beetles is ready for next year.
CityCaucus.com tweeted about it first yesterday afternoon. City Manager Penny Ballem sent out a bulletin that the new Vancouver Park Board General Manager has been hired. Malcolm Bromley hails from Toronto, and yes, we've checked to see if he was married at Hollyhock and we can happily report that so far we've found no evidence of a Cortes connection. Given the fact that the Park Board actually hires Bromley, we thought it was telling that Penny Ballem signed off on the bulletin about Bromley's hire. We'll leave it to our readers to decide what it means.
- post by Mike