What is a Cutworm?

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From beets to broccoli to cauliflower to kale, few plants are safe from cutworms. These small, prolific pests are a common problem in Southeast Michigan, preying on local gardens at night and leaving serious damage by morning. The longer you let cutworms feast on your yard, the greater the threat to your home gardening and landscaping efforts, making it essential to eliminate them as soon as possible. Lush Lawn has extensive experience with cutworm and other larva control. With our help, you can identify a cutworm infestation early, quickly kill off the first line of pests, and take proactive control measures to prevent future problems. 

What are Cutworms in Southeast Michigan?

 

Cutworms are the larvae of a species of moth which hatch around common garden plants and feed on the stems. Despite their name, they are not actually worms, but rather a type of caterpillar. Cutworms are either dull brown or grey in color and have soft, stout bodies. They tend to lie dormant during the day, but at night, they emerge from the soil and begin to feed. They focus on the stems of the plants they attack, gradually gnawing away at them until they cut the plants down entirely. They continue to attack garden plants until they mature into moths, at which point they cease to threaten your garden.
Cutworms are such a serious problem in part because they do all their damage at night. Southeast Michigan homeowners often go to bed seeing no problems with their gardens, only to wake up and find that whole rows of plants have been destroyed. If you allow this problem to continue, these insects can destroy as much as three-quarters of your plants in a single year. This makes it essential to take proactive steps that control and prevent cutworms from ever becoming established in your yard. 

Preventative Measures to Control Cutworms 

As with most threats to your turf and garden, it’s better to prevent cutworms from ever attacking in the first place than to eliminate them after the fact. You can control or stop an infestation before it starts by:

  • Getting rid of plant debris and weeds at the beginning of each planting season, as these can harbor cutworms

  • Turn the soil at the end of each year so birds have a chance to eat any cutworms living in it

  • Mow your grass close to the edge of the garden, as this will give cutworms less organic material to subsist on
  • Create a bare soil barrier between your garden and any surrounding grass; this prevents cutworms from spreading and lets you spot the few that do spread

  • Plant a little later in the spring, as cutworms spread most quickly during the very beginning of the growing season

  • Surround your plants with pieces of cardboard, and work that cardboard into the dirt to block cutworms

Not only do these tips prevent cutworms from attacking, but they can bolster your plants against a range of other pests and diseases. Cutworm control is thus a valuable part of a holistic lawn and garden care strategy, providing a solid foundation for your yard’s enduring health. 

How Lush Lawn Handles Cutworm Control 

As effective as these steps are, there is no foolproof way to prevent cutworm caterpillars from getting into your garden. This makes it important to have a backup plan for removing these insects if an infestation does manage to get going. Lush Lawn offers comprehensive cutworm control solutions, which involve:

  • Yard Assessments- At the first sign of a cutworm problem, we will travel to your yard and assess it in detail. Not only does this help us rule out other sources of damage, but if you are dealing with cutworms, it lets us identify their exact locations. As a result, we will be able to eliminate them more quickly and precisely.

  • Grub Killer Applications- Once we know where the cutworms are, we use safe, effective larva killing products to eliminate them. We apply these products as precisely as possible in your yard, allowing us to destroy all hazardous insects while minimizing damage to other plants and the surrounding environment. Once we apply the products, you’ll need to water your lawn for about 60 minutes; after that, the insects should be gone within two days.

  • Proactive Prevention- Having eliminated the current cutworm threat, our cutworm control team will take proactive steps to stop future larvae from attacking your yard. From removing weeds to carefully spacing new seedings, we leave few avenues for caterpillar attacks.

Don’t leave your lawn vulnerable to one of the swiftest and most serious threats in Southeast Michigan. For more information on our larva control measures or to request a free estimate for your yard, contact Lush Lawn today.

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