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Leatherjackets (lawn pest) - Tipula paludosa and Nephrotoma

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:58 pm    Post subject: Leatherjackets (lawn pest) - Tipula paludosa and Nephrotoma Reply with quote

Leatherjackets (lawn pest) - Tipula paludosa and Nephrotoma
by GPI

Plants affected
Lawn grass, seedlings of vegetables and small plants in open soil and pots outdoors.

Season(s) present.
Summer mostly, but attacks can occour year round especially after a wet winter.

Leatherjacket, photo / picture / image.

Appearance of damage.
Arrow Yellow/brown dead patches on grass, and overall it may be slow growing. Gently tugging at the grass may result in it being pulled up, with little or no root growth.
Arrow Cuts and marks in the lawn from leatherjacket hunting birds.
Arrow New vegetable and other seedlings not developing due to severed roots.
Arrow Plants in pots never developing and lacking vigour
Arrow Bulbs failing to appear above ground.
Arrow Strawberries weakened and failing to produce fruit.

Arrow The larvae of the cranefly or daddy-long-legs known as the leatherjacket.
Arrow Each female cranefly place about 300 eggs into soil in late summer, the larvae then hatch in the autumn to begin feeding on roots.
Arrow The headless and legless tube-like larvae are grey/brown and up to two inches long (45mm). Their leathery outer skin is where the get their name.

Yes, leatherjackets are one of the worst pest of the lawn, especially one with poor drainage. They are also very damaging in a vegetable garden which has been recently converted from grass.

Organic or cultural control.
Arrow Ensure you have adequate drainage in your lawn, as eggs and young larvae thrive in damp conditions. Sandy soil will also show less occurrence of leatherjacket attack.
Arrow Encourage the bird population in your garden by providing trees and shrubs as shelter and feeding them occasionnaly. Your birds will keep the population of craneflys lowered resulting in less leatherjackets. Unfortunately there is a downside to the birds especially the ground feeders such as the blackbird, as they cut up the lawn in their search for leatherjacket grubs.
Arrow In the evening, water an area of soil/lawn and cover it with a sheet of black plastic, then in the early morning remove the cover to expose any leatherjackets which have come to the surface. Sweep them up and dispose or else vacate the area quickly and let the Starlings, blackbirds and robins pick them off.
Arrow For leatherjacket control you can, if the pots are manageable, pop the rootball out of the pot and pick off any visable grubs.
Arrow Digging over an area of leatherjacket infested soil with a fork will also bring the grubs to the surface to be eaten by birds that flock to any piece of freshly turned sod.
Arrow You can water on a a biological control from late August to October, a parasitic nematode called Steinernema feltiae. These nematodes attack the leatherjackets causing them to die out. Steinernema feltiae can be ordered through garden centres or online.

Other Control.
Applying slug pellets which contain Methiocarb will also reduce the leatherjacket population. Sprinkle them over the ground and lightly rake in.

Note: The use of slug pellets may result in a reduction in your gardens bird population.

Nature notes.
Please note that does not advocate the removal of insect life, instead, this forum encourages wildlife preservation. However, there are occasions where a wildlife becomes a problem within the garden for certain people. Be aware that wildlife is a link in the chain of life, benefiting something or someone down the chain. Please at least think about this before you remove wildlife from your site.

DISCLAIMER: The control methods are suggested here as a matter of general information. Under Irish and EU law it is illegal to use any preparation as a pesticide/fugicide/herbicide that is not approved for such use. The author and the website accepts no responsibility for how a user may mix, use, store, or any effects the mixture or its elements may have on people, plants or the environment. The information here is for reference only and does not imply a recommendation for use. If you disregard this warning and make any of the preparations, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Any queries or comments on Leatherjackets (lawn pest) - Tipula paludosa and Nephrotoma, please post below.

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Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree

Joined: 19 May 2009
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Location: Cork

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 3:10 pm    Post subject: Leatherjacket infestation- to plant or not to plant? Reply with quote

I'm new to this gardening thing and this forum thing so I apologise in advance for any major faux pas!
I recently "redesigned" my garden, winding path of sleepers down the middle; gravel (with weed control fabric underneath) on one side, newly planted lawn turf on the other; together with a raised flower bed at the end and semi-circular flower bed in the lawn area. Tested the soil (decidedly alkaline); watched the sun. Purchased €100 worth carefully chosen of plants. Except I didn't get that far- as I began to plant I realised the whole garden was infested with leatherjackets. Treated it with nematodes, hasn't worked. I have two little dogs, so I'm loathed to use a pesticide. Also the grubs have attracted a nice amount of birds so I don't want to risk poisoning them!
My garden is now a mess! I didn't get the lawn turf, and am left with an ugly area of dead grass(Round-up, I'm not loathed to use a herbicide!); and my lovely plants are left in their pots begging to be planted.
Any advice is welcome!
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Rank attained: Ash Tree
Rank attained: Ash Tree

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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i would dig the garden over and expose the larvae to the birds.
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Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These pests are very dangerous and these nematodes attack the leather jackets causing them to die out. I have also faced this problem about a year ago and get rid off from these in quick time. For this purpose i get the services of a pest removal company who treat these pest well and these pests are remove from my garden in quick time.Termites FAQs
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