Leatherjacket Crane Fly Daddy Long Legs

Symptoms

How to tell if leather jackets are a problem in your garden;

Lawns develop patches where the grasses turn white, straw-like and die, where the leatherjackets have attacked and fed on the grass root system. This can be distinguished from similar effects caused by lawn diseases or adverse growing conditions by lifting the affected turf and finding leatherjackets in the surface layers of the soil
Another method to reveal leatherjackets in lawns is to soak it with water and covering it with material impervious to light, such as sacking or black polythene. The following day large numbers of grubs should be found on the surface under the cover
Crows, magpies, rooks and starlings will search for leatherjackets in turf. These birds leave small round holes in the turf where they have inserted their beaks.
Leather jackets have elongate tubular bodies, up to 30mm long, and are greyish brown. They have no legs or obvious head.
Control

Non-Chemical Controls

A specific pathogenic nematode, Steinernema feltiae, can be watered into the turf or soil. The nematodes enter the bodies of leatherjackets and infect them with a bacterial disease. To be effective, the nematode requires soil that is well drained but moist and with a minimum temperature of 12°C (54°F). The turf around the edge of affected areas should be targeted to deal with larvae spreading out from infestation “hot spots” in the lawn. However, by the time areas of infestation become apparent, the soil may be too cold for nematodes to be effective.

As a preventive measure, apply nematodes in September to early October against leatherjackets. Nematodes should be applied as soon as possible after purchase, following the suppliers’ instructions for use. It may be necessary to water the lawn before and after application to ensure the soil is sufficiently moist for nematode activity and survival.

Chemical Controls

There are currently no chemical controls for leatherjackets on lawns which can be applied by amateur gardeners, however lawn care specialists such as ourselves are licensed to carry and apply insecticides which can be used to reduce and control Leatherjackets populations very effectively.

Spring is just around the corner

With spring just around the corner now is the perfect time to start preparing your lawn for the forthcoming growing season!

Following yet another mild and very wet winter many lawns are suffering a variety of problems from wide spread moss, poor turf density and severe damage from pets such as leatherjackets and chaffer grubs……..

So what can you do?

The following steps will help ensure your lawn gets the best possible start to the 2015 growing season:

1. Aeration (spiking)

Aeration essentially creates hundreds/thousands (depending on size of lawn) of holes in your lawn, thus helping to improve the free flow of oxygen, moisture & nutrients down into the root zone where it is essentially required by the grass plant’s root system. The process of aeration also creates heave which importantly helps to reduce and control surface compaction.

2. Application of a winter turf conditioner & moss killer

At this time of year we apply a combination of a liquid seaweed turf conditioner which helps promote a healthier turf & root system -as well as helping to improve turf colour & vigor and a soluble iron moss killer which kills off and controls moss in your lawn as well as helping to harden the cell walls of the grass pant – thus helping to improve disease resistance and tolerance to the colder & damper winter weather.

3. Application of an insecticide

This really does ‘what is says on the tin’ – Controlling & reducing the population of any leatherjackets, chaffer grubs or ants present in the turf & root zone, which otherwise if left untreated will (if not already) go on to feed on the root system of the grass plant damaging it and eventually killing off the grass in your lawn!