In late winter, the larvae of the European Chafer Beetle reach their maximum size. For the crows, raccoons, and skunks that feed on them, the timing is perfect — a succulent supply of protein just before spring mating occurs. For homeowners with lawns, there is less reason to celebrate. The animals that forage for the larvae think nothing of destroying well manicured lawn spaces in search of this important food source. So what can the homeowner do?
We have developed our own Chafer Beetle Resistant Lawn Blend as one option. It combines Tall Fescue (Turf Type) with pelleted Micro-Clover seeds. While both of these ground covers will grow in to provide a tough, resilient lawn, neither of them form the thatch that chafer beetles look for when they lay their eggs.
This blend is meant for use with new, bare topsoil, and not for over-seeding existing lawns. Keep the newly seeded area well watered as the seedlings take root. Once established, this lawn will require regular maintenance, but it will stay greener for longer in the summer, and it will stand up to foot (and pet) traffic in areas of full sun to partial shade. Clover goes dormant over winter, and may appear to be dead, so the fescue in this blend will keep lawns looking healthy and vibrant. Seed a new area, with no turf present, by seeding at 3.6kg (8 lbs) per thousand square feet. Seeding over existing thatch is rarely successful.
Will not kill existing chafer beetle larvae
Not a magic bullet - this product makes no guarantee to eliminate chafer beetles. Instead, it is intended to be used as part of an ongoing strategy to resist chafer beetle infestations.
0. Before you start: To find out if Micro Clover, or other Lawn Solutions, are the right product for your yard and climate, consider planting a test patch. Landscaping projects tend to be large and relatively expensive. Trying a smaller area, or even a planting container, will give you a better idea of what to expect from germination, seeding rate, and speed of growth.
1. Remove existing lawn. Over-seeding existing lawn rarely results in high germination. These seeds are like any other: They must be in contact with moist soil in order to germinate. If they are broadcast over an existing lawn, germination will be reduced, possibly to zero.
Some folks have tried de-thatching and aerating lawn prior to over-seeding. While this may increase the chances of germination, it is not best practice.
2. Lay down topsoil. Add an inch or more fresh topsoil to the planting area to give the new seedlings a helping hand. Soil that had previously been home to lawn grasses may be nutrient deficient or compacted. Topsoil will help retain moisture during the critical few weeks after planting.
3. Spread the seeds. Sow densely at 50g of seed per 100 square feet. The seeds can be sprinkled by hand or spread with a lawn seeding machine. Typically, lawns are seeded north-south/north-south, and then once more east-west/east-west. This helps spread the seeds evenly. We recommend keeping back up to 20% of the seeds in order to fill in any spots that get missed on the first planting — or, to order 20% more seeds than the recommended rate.
4. If a roller is available, use it. This will help press the seeds into the prepared soil. It's not absolutely necessary, but may increase overall germination.
5. Irrigate. Until the clover is established, it will need regular watering, particularly in hot, dry, or windy weather. Ten minutes of sprinkler time twice a day is sufficient in most cases, BUT - water according the needs of your particular yard or landscape. Many variables can impact how much water is needed to establish micro-clover. Gradient, drainage, soil compaction, sun exposure, shade, and temperature all play a role.
6. Allow the products to establish. Prevent foot and pet traffic for at least four weeks after sowing so the plants have a chance of establishing healthy root systems and putting on early growth. Micro Clover, Tall Fescue, and Bee Turf are tough plants that can handle foot traffic, but they must be allowed a grace period to establish.
7. Mow. It may be surprising how vigorously some of these plants grow at first. They will not show any miniaturization to begin with. The tight dwarf growth will come as a result of repeated mowing. The plants respond to mowing by hugging the ground more, with smaller leaves and shorter flower stems. Over time, they will take on a very compact, snug appearance. Likewise, the clovers will grow in and fill empty spots as their roots grow laterally through the soil. If the product looks a bit beat up after mowing, just wait a couple of days. It will rebound.
Our seeds are germination tested by an independent seed lab to meet or exceed the Canada Number One germination rate. These products are hardy to Zone 3 - but this is not a guarantee that they will survive unexpected weather extremes. As with any other garden plant, a very severe winter (or summer) may result in damage or loss.
Sow Micro Clover seeds between the period two weeks prior to your last frost date, and 4 weeks prior to your first average frost date. For the BC Lower Mainland, that is approximately March 15 to October 5. Sowing in hot, dry weather will reduce the chances for success.
Temperature for Fescues:
The best time to plant fescue seeds is when the soil temperature is between 10-18°C (50-65ºF) or daytime temperatures are in the 15-23°C (60-75ºF) range.