Chafer beetle infestation so thinking of complete ground cover. Help with ideas?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Chuck Bates, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. Chuck Bates

    Chuck Bates Member

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    Port Coquitlam, BC
    Hello All. We have one of those front yards that looks horrible after the racoons and crows have devastated it searching for those plump Chafer Beetle larvae. My wife and I are not the best at maintaining a healthy front lawn, that would help in avoiding this infestation, so we are contemplating creating a non-grass area (East facing, approx. 200 square feet) that would be low maintenance with year round colour. Most of the area is exposed to morning sun and there is an area beside a border hedge that sees very little direct sun if at all.

    Some ideas so far could include some flagstone, pebbles or river rock, low-lying ground cover, low growing shrubs, etc. All of which we would like year-round evergreens with colour.

    Any ideas on choices for plants or other landscaping? Does anyone out there have a picture of something they have seen or have? We have a blank canvas at the moment and any help from you would be fantastic. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. pmurphy

    pmurphy Rising Contributor

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    When the chafer beetle first appeared in our neighborhood you could see all the dug up boulevards and lawns and we thought ourselves lucky that the critters did not appear to be targeting our lawn until one morning when we found chunks of grass pulled up. Being spring we could not stand by and wait until June/July when the nematodes were available and so decided we had to do something to try and save our lawn.

    We paid a visit to the nearest $ store and bought a bunch of cheap garden netting. Using large plastic tent pegs we spread the netting over the front yard, about 6" off the ground (making sure to place pegs in the center to prevent the net from sagging), and waited: we assumed the critters would not want to walk on or land on the flimsy netting, and we were right because eventually they stopped trying. And we know they were trying because some mornings we found the netting was tangled at the edges or slightly pulled up but we would just re-secured it.
    We left the netting on until the grass had grown in and until it reach a height of about 5-6". At this point we removed the netting and trimmed the grass (to make it look neater) but still left if longer than usual to discourage the adult beetles from returning (we keep it longer now).

    Since that year we haven't had any problems with critters digging up our lawn, and I know we still have the larva because any time I do garden work, or do any digging, I find them. And the critters are still digging up the boulevards and neighboring yards, but they leave ours alone.

    Give this a try.
     
  3. Chuck Bates

    Chuck Bates Member

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    Thanks for the reply pmurphy. My Father did the same as you and it worked for a short time but eventually his yard looked much the same before he put up the netting. I think we have resigned our selves to dig up the whole yard and start fresh with the ground cover, plants and flagstone that I described in my original post. Any help in helping with ideas for this blank canvas from the forum contributors would be appreciated!
     
  4. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    If you have well-drained soil I would be tempted to create a combination of river rock and prostrating Juniper, kind of like on this picture. You could add some colour to it by planting a few low growing, flowering (or with colourful foliage) shrubs or perennials.

    Make sure that all plants you plant have similar soil and moisture requirements, suitable to your plot.
    Prepare your soil by adding a lot of organic matter (compost, organic grass clippings, leaf mold ) a month or so before planting, it is worth the effort. Don't use any synthetic fertilizers, they have detrimental effect on the soil ecosystem. Use cardboard before putting the pebbles on to prevent the weeds and grass from poking through.

    You have an opportunity to create something much more interesting than a boring traditional lawn, good luck with it!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  5. Debby

    Debby Active Member 10 Years

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    Chuck, there are endless possibilities: aquilegia (columbine), astilbe, bergenia, carex, convallaria majalis (lily of the valley), corydalis, cyclamen, digitalis (foxglove), epimedium, eranthis hyemalis (winter aconite), galanthus (snowdrops), galium ororatum (sweet woodruff), geranium (hardy cranesbill), hosta, houttuynia cordata, milium effusum 'aureum' (Bowles' golden grass), plus, plus, plus. I'd advise checking out library books on shade gardening, and visit a good nursery monthly throughout the coming season to see what new (to you) plants are on offer. A simple combination of hostas, ferns, and carexes would be a wonderful start. Right now, sarcoccoca is blooming (sweet box); it has a wonderful scent. Best of luck. I'm glad you are getting rid of some or all of your lawn!
     
  6. mike y

    mike y New Member

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    if you have time to garden, it might be worth considering as i have resigned to the same options but leaning on organic gardening though i need to know what grows in a 20 feet wide plot between the house and a tall evergreen hedge. any ideas like cauliflower or kale?
     
  7. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    mike y,
    Assuming you have a good, uncontaminated, reach in organic matter soil, green leafy or root vegetables should do well in a shady area, if there is not too much root competition from your hedge.
     
  8. Renew

    Renew Active Member 10 Years

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    As Brian Minter says, aerate your lawns and put down 1/4" of sand twice a year and the chafer beetle leaves you alone. I have been doing this, though once a year, for 4-5 years. The neighbours around me all have chafer beetle infestations and I do not. I have been trying to pass the word around but it is a slow process.
     

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